“Sewage Babies” and “Missing” by Deborah Watkins

Tuam

Poethead

Old church yard, Clifden

Sewage babies

 
Put on our Sunday best for Mass.
Let on we haven’t heard
about dead babies in Tuam.
Eight hundred infants,
bunkered in human filth.
Bones tossed like old coins,
dump of dead currency.
 
To those who defend
servants of God and state:
‘They did the best
with what they had.’
What have we?
 
Garrison church.
Proud, complicit government.
Blessed well of
indifference.

 

Missing

 
Hour by hour you lie hidden under forest light
as it rises and falls dimly through the trees.
Year by year you slip a few more degrees
into the earth while you wait and yet
your ending clings, like the lingering sound of an old tune.
 
Each season breeds cool abeyance –
wood sorrel drifts ivory white
while chard green ivy creeps.
Dog…

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