Jessamine O Connor comes from Dublin and lives in rural Sligo. In 2011 she won the iYeats and Francis Ledwidge awards, in 2012 was short-listed for the Bradshaw Books manuscript competition, and in 2013 for the Hennessy awards and the Dead Good Poetry competition. Her poems have been published in various journals and her first chapbook “Hellsteeth” is available from


He calls it a dead language
And I flinch
Though all I have are names
Items and actions
Like beads
Missing their string
I can’t make it make sense
Can’t put them together
But I hold them tightly
Snarling at him
Clutching my gems
A small voice crouched
Behind my tongue
Just waiting
To spring out
When he calls it dead
The fairy says


We used to be friends
As he’s always reminding me,
Sidling over,
He says how he knew me
When I still pushed a buggy,
Dangling his archive
To the mourners around us,
The scar wide on his face
Like it’s waiting for something.

I give my back
To his reptilian eyes,
And walk the few yards
Back into the 90’s.
When I glance over
He’s been left alone dancing,
No one gives a damn the things he remembers.
I look right through him
At the funeral party.


Our house was built
before you came here,
foundations laid
with good intentions
on shaky ground,
stones cut and put down
in fits and starts,
misshaped, mis-chosen
stones that blackened,
betrayed us to rot,
and fell apart.

So now you’re here,
with the roof tumbling,
plaster crumbling,
cracks showing, and you’re
patching it all,
but looking around
I’m not sure if
you’re fixing things up,
or tearing them down,
it’s hard to tell
from inside the walls.