Jess Mc Kinney
Lough Swilly Hotel, Buncrana
Trespassing hadn’t been invented yet, in those days we walked right in. Corrugated metal peeled back into a smile. The reception confettied with photographs of old parties, laughter trod like mud into carpet. For years it stored antique furniture, a safe place for forgotten things. The velvet staircase was disintegrating, salt tongued at the walls, and there were resident birds in several rooms. I had no sense of danger then and thought occasionally of tetanus. My art teacher praised the use of found objects; candles, keys, curtain ties, small items plugged into pockets. Standing across the road from school, caught in a draft of sea wind, it called only after dark. It was an age where things get inside you and curiosity can chew you up. My grandmother’s eyes closed when she spoke of the dance floor; people came from miles around. They never did find who started it, a blaze in the middle of the night. Took six fire crews to quench it and still burned right to the ground.
JESS MC KINNEY is a writer from Inishowen, Donegal. Her debut pamphlet, Weeding, was published with Hazel Press in 2021. She is currently working towards her first collection and novel.