Two poems by Jessamine O Connor

Jessamine O Connor lives in a train station in rural Sligo. Most recently her poems have been published in The Stony Thursday Book, New Irish Writing, The Stinging Fly, Shot Glass Journal and The First Cut. In 2011 she was the winner of both the iYeats and the Francis Ledwidge poetry awards. She was shortlisted for 2012 Bradshaw Books manuscript competition, and still has a book of poems itching to be published.


Two poems by Jessamine O Connor


Three New Fathers 

Ten days late.

You don’t go for the taxi.

After a little rest, you smile,

And gouge on the bed.

Eighteen hours later

You’re proud, you’d love another,

But now you have to get going,

Can’t leave it too late.

You leave us alone

On a ward full of fathers,

Wishing I could stitch

Shut the curtains around us.



Three weeks late.

I drive myself in.

All through it thinking

Someone will tell you,

And you’ll appear in the glass,

Poison the staff,

Hold the white pillow

Down into my face,

And tear up the baby.

I beg and beg them

To let me out,

Before you get in.



One day short of two weeks over.

You drive fast.

There’s no panic, I grit

Every four minutes.


I send you for food,

And you sit behind me chewing

While I pant on the bed,

Overwhelmed in sweat.

Have you not finished

That bloody roll yet? I spit.

You rub, and don’t rub,

Do as you’re told.


I stroke and kiss your hand,

Then crush it,

Roar, and push her out,

Just like that.




Predatory smoothness

Heard like a lullaby

Over the radio,

Whispering ink

From the weekend edition,

They breathe how we need it

And now we’ve found ourselves here

In this compromising position

We can’t really say no.


The sirens sing; it’s easy,

Close your eyes and lie back,

Shut your mouth,

Relax, just picture the money,

And don’t make a scene

Because children are listening,

You wouldn’t want them to think

There are monsters around,

Waiting to shoot their loads

Of poison

Deep into our soft damp ground.


They croon how we’re different,

It’s so special here,

It won’t be like those other places

They whisper, licking our ears.

They letch, and rub

Their greasy hands together,

Until slowly we’ve coldly unclothed our skin,

Looked away,

And let them in.


After, we wake to dimly see

The concrete pads,

Mile wide pits,

And flames from taps.

Gagging, we cry, – no,

You said it wouldn’t be like that –

But now there’s no need for words.

The trucks just knock us flat,

And keep driving their loads

Over our bodies,

Up and down the lunar tracks.

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