Before writing poetry, Jinny Fisher was a classical violinist, a teacher, and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Her poems have since appeared in Lighthouse, Against the Grain, The Interpreter’s House, Under the Radar, Tears in the Fence, Prole, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Osmosis. Jinny's writing has been commended and placed in national and international competitions. She was first runner-up in The Interpreter’s House Open House Competition in 2016, as well as in Prole Laureate in 2020. Jinny also runs the Poetry Pram: taking poetry to audiences at festivals for random one-to-one readings. Her pamphlet, The Escapologist, was out in 2019.
Aged eight, my brother walks
through the cathedral school’s
He is assigned a number, to mark
with indelible ink inside
He is taught only by men
who have been taught only
Big boys creep to the beds
of shaking small boys, who wake
in cold, damp sheets.
Masters walk pretty boys
upstairs, for personal attention,
But my brother can pitch a note, so is chosen
to be an apprentice chorister, learning melody
and polyphony from the boys around him.
Cantoris and Decani, the Cathedral choir stalls
become his refuge; his friends are animal
misericords under ancient polished seats.
He floats to the rhythm of versicle and response,
to refrains of psalms and canticles that swirl up
to the fan vaulted Sanctuary ceiling.
Praetorius, Tallis, Purcell—their anthems
shall cradle and comfort him always.
And in peace he shall both lie down and sleep.
Brownie 127: The Beach. As we skimmed the deeps, his freckled back was my boat. I felt the rise and fall of shoulder blades under my thumbs, his mouth swivelling into view as he gasped for breath. Look: a squinty grin, a cartwheel, a sandcastle – fortified against the tide.
Asahi Pentax: The Shed. Dust-coated cobwebs, thick as tea towels, draped the windows. I dangled my legs from the workbench, viced the battens while he sawed, and there were so many splinters to be gouged. Look: a table – sanded and glossed, a captain’s chair, three splay-backs.
Nikon F: The Studio. A windowless shed at the end of the garden. Only my friend was with him. We all knew there were cameras on tripods, banks of flash-guns, umbrellas to diffuse the glare. I imagine his camouflaged murmurs as her blouse falls to the floor. Listen: Lovely – peep from under your lids. Now – a little smile?
Privilege / Little Brother, Big Sister: exclusive
first publication by iamb
Retrofocus: The Escapologist (V. Press)
Little Brother, Big Sister
At the back of Deb’s wardrobe,
Dan finds the frock:
pink satin frills,
soon to be sent
to the charity shop.
from the dressing-up box
set off the shine
in his wavy blond hair.
His unisex trainers match
Deb’s rainbow socks.
Dan poses and pouts
to the full-length mirror,
catwalks into the kitchen
with a shrill ta-da!
Father’s eyes roll.
He storms out, slams the door.