‘Cork Schoolgirl Considers the GPO O’Connell Street, Dublin 2016’ By Victoria Kennefick

I am sixteen, standing outside the GPO
in my school uniform, which isn’t ideal.

My uniform is the colour of bull’s blood.

In this year, I am sixteen, a pleasing symmetry
because I love history, have I told you that?

It is mine so I carry it in my rucksack.

I love all the men of history sacrificing
themselves for Ireland, for me, like rebel Jesuses.

I put my finger in the building’s bullet holes;

poke around in its wounds.
I wonder if they feel it,

those boys, younger than me,

I hope they do, their blooming faces
pressed flat in the pages of my books.

I lick the wall as if it were a stamp,

it tastes of bones, this smelly city,
of those boys in uniforms,

theirs bloody too. I put my lips

to the pillar. I want to kiss them all. And
I do, I kiss all those boys goodbye.

Victoria Kennefick‘s pamphlet, White Whale (Southword Editions, 2015), won the Munster Literature Centre Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition and the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. Her work has appeared in POETRY, Poetry News, Poetry Ireland Review, Prelude, The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, and elsewhere. She was recently awarded a Next Generation Artist Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. You can follow her on Twitter @VKennefick.