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Jinny Fisher



the poet

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.

the poems


00:00 / 01:25

                  Aged eight, my brother walks

                  through the cathedral school’s

                  stone doorway.

                  He is assigned a number, to mark

                  with indelible ink inside

                  his shoes.

                  He is taught only by men

                  who have been taught only

                  by men.

                  Big boys creep to the beds

                  of shaking small boys, who wake

                  in cold, damp sheets.

                  Masters walk pretty boys

                  upstairs, for personal attention,

                  special education.


                  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.


00:00 / 01:32

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?

Little Brother, Big Sister

00:00 / 00:38

                                    At the back of Deb’s wardrobe,

                                    Dan finds the frock:

                                    pink satin frills,

                                    unicorns, fairies—

                                    soon to be sent

                                    to the charity shop.

                                    Grandma’s beads

                                    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.

Publishing credits

Privilege / Little Brother, Big Sister: exclusive

  first publication by iamb

Retrofocus: The Escapologist (V. Press)


S h a r e

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