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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 4: July 2020
Prose Poem: 472 words
By Kelly Jensen

Holding Quinks


If I were to give proper libation to the slick lap of dark in the seal-swell of your lips, then I’d be ready to rough grey alleys where timepieces and ambition get lost beneath a tangle of rapt and fluttering pulses. But I understand how you’d want to keep me, a lightning bug batting her wings against the glass walls of a mason jar. We all want to capture that spark that keeps us going. Instead, let’s steal into the old mahogany bar for a quink or two. We could listen to Ella rasp on about her man and love, basking in the haze of poetry and jazz, wandering the side streets.

“I’m not ready to commit to a partnership.” Ok, I said it.

Maybe I’m a quink, wearing ripped jeans before they were hip. Or maybe I’m a dreamer, and a hopeless wanderer, tripping after her next snatch of inspiration, clutching at dandelion fluff and crawling through the woods to examine the underbellies of deteriorating logs, just to see their cultures thriving from what’s dying.

You argue that I will die alone, that only in my imagination lives the sort of quink that science geeks believe to be real and necessary. I say that the paradox of hypothetical and fundamental particles is that they hold equal weight, and that quantum physics has proven the existence of multiple realities, but we believe only in the one that we see.

It’s the rolling-eye treatment when I say that Yeats wouldn’t have written his poems without magic, that he wouldn’t have been able to lift his quill to the abyss of black Quink without his mystic edge.

And there is no sigh of exasperation in the nearby wooded glen, when I track the obscure paths of Lady Gregory and Yeats, my ears pricking for the quink call of the duckling couple on the little creek. The brilliant greens of the male attract the sturdy browns of the female and they stick together, but lend each other wing space. I venture that they offer no ultimatums, gliding together on different stretches of the long rivulet. Still, a firefly sparkles in her natural element, flitting through the clinging damp of a Midwestern summer night, not meant to be trapped in a jar with just enough air slits to keep her world uncomfortably small.

Then there are those quinks, the ancient greylag geese of my English ancestors that mate for life and trouble my blood. Celtic Druids said that this type of partnership blessed the tribe with stability and creativity. Maybe there’s a truth in the longevity of their ability to fly at dizzying heights, alongside their kind, in V formations. Still I wonder, wouldn’t my own kind enjoy stumbling down to the river, after a quink or two, just to watch the cattails sway?


—One of five semi-finalists in MacQ’s Quink Writing Challenge

Kelly Jensen
Issue 4, July 2020

lives and works in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to writing, she enjoys gardening, nature hikes, and crafting. Her poetry has been published in Kindred Spirit Journal.

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