A letter sent from Mary Ellen Garvey (18) currently living in the Children's Home, #Tuam, to her mother. (1931)

To a Tuam Mother  

By Anne Marie Kennedy

Are you living at home in Attymon or Athenry, listening to Joe Duffy in private?
Or are you confined again?
In a communal place in a nursing home, or on a hospital bed, where you can’t get away from the news?

Are you terrified today, like when you were a slip of a girl?
Sent away by guilt-driven, God-fearing parents, or the curate-
That sent you to Tuam, from Taughmaconnell or Turloughmore.
To hide your shame, so as not to lay blame, but to make it go away.

And they did.  
They hid you, and they hid him.

But you hear talk on the wireless of an official enquiry.
Will it bring to the light and what’s left of your life, the sixty year old, unmentionable child?

That you’ve never forgotten, or sometimes to be honest, you have.

But you’ve told no one; not your sister or husband nor the subsequent
daughters that your almost virginal body bore.  

Are you eighty and afraid?
Will names be named and will you be ashamed, again?

Anne Marie Kennedy, June 6th, 2014