Alice Kinsella is an Irish poet. Her work has been published internationally in a variety of publications, including Headspace magazine, The Fem literary magazine, Icarus, Poethead, The Sunday Independent and Poetry Northern Ireland’s ‘Holocaust memorial anthology’. She is included in Poethead’s indices ‘Women Poets’ and ‘Contemporary Irish Women Poets’. She works and studies at Trinity College Dublin.
Your fingers unfurled to unveil the shell,
Like the unwrapping of a present
I didn’t know I deserved.
Little twirls on the bright jewel you’d found
Amongst the greys, greens and muddy sand.
Flurries of words whistling through tooth gaps
The excitement brought by being somewhere not here
And finding me still at home, unchanged,
All wide eyes and gaping ears,
Ready to believe any adventure.
The curled sunshine shell came as evidence
Like the creamy buttercup reflection
Shimmering on your chin like summer sea surface
As we’d hold our fingers too close to our faces
For the first time.
The swirl of it, held tight, poised to spring
Unravel into something other than
The little yellow shell, carried carefully
Home from your holidays
To share a little of the sunlight with me.
They say the body of Christ was bread and the blood was wine
It was their modest simplicity, their purity, their ability to sustain for centuries.
But I can only see them as a compilation of the smaller things
Found in nature and stitched together by man.
The rotting wealth of wine and weight of bread
The fullness of body, the drunkenness of body, the fatness of body
Is that the Form of body?
I see an orange dropped from a tree
The firm layer of armour
Bold bright colour holding its bruises
Makes no apologies.
Paw it open and see
The succulent translucent flesh
And the wetness of it
The sunrise gleam of it, light caught
Like from dewy mornings in every cell of it.
Pick apart the creases and burrow into it
All fingers and lips and tongue
That’s the purity to it, the unashamed messiness of it.
And the blood is the sweat is the cum is the juice
Rolling down your chin
As you pour your face into the crown of it
Suck up the pure complexity of it
Feel it as too much
And not quite enough.