Taken

by Aideen Henry

In 1978,
Mary said,
“They took my baby.
They took him
from my warm and sweaty crook.

They took his downy head,
Still red and toasted with the smell
of me.”

In a dark room
full of shadows and empty of air,
she sits beneath the crying Jesus
above the bed.

His outstretched hands
frame her hanging head
that sags, swollen in tears
and blood and a stolen love.

She picks up pieces with broken hands,
that cut on the sharp edges
of a life ended and a life begun.
Her great pain
Is her great strength.

***

I was pregnant
before I was married.
I turned my diamond
backways on my finger,
when I went to greet
the parents at the school gate.

In 2014.
My shame is that
I let them take
my joy.
They didn’t get
my baby.

***

They have taken our babies.

From haysheds and roadsides,
The false safety of a hospital bed,
and the hot damp laundries
where we washed away our sins.

We gave up our sighs,
we mourned and wept,
but no one dried our tears.

We gave up our babies,
and hung our heads
to hide from whispers,
floating down from high horses.

Swollen bellies hold our shame,
Full breasts lie and leak
and seek,
a mouth that is gone from us.

Aideen Henry is a mother of 2 from Cavan, writing poems and stories in her spare time since she was 14 years of age.

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