Peter’s growing in his mother.
She doesn’t know she’s pregnant.
James is in the leering look of George.
Uncle George thinking of young Molly.
John is in Pass Maths.
In the womb of a young girl doing the Leaving.
Peter’s in the sacristy.
The priest is shouting shame at his mother.
James is in Molly’s big belly.
They’re in the kitchen saying the family Rosary, waiting for the car.
John is nearly born.
His mother failed the Leaving with the upset.
Don’t mention that shame either.
Peter’s in his mother’s arms.
They’re looking from the gate up to the grey stone Home.
James and Molly, in Uncle George’s car.
Heading for the nuns, somewhere far away where no one knows Molly.
John is with his Granny.
In a parlour. In a convent. Under The Sacred Heart.
Waiting for a holy nun to take him.
Granddad’s in the car outside. Listening to the hurling.
Peter’s in tears.
In his wet nappy. In his metal cot. Near the window.
His next cot companion, beside the window, is in a fit of coughing.
James is in the basket.
On the weighing scales, his weight OK, just.
He’s in his mammy’s thoughts and prayers. Always.
John is on the nun’s list.
There are lots of names on the nun’s list but John’s name is near the top.
Peter’s in a coma.
Beside the window now, he hasn’t woken. For days.
James is in a blue blanket, all wrapped up.
His mammy thought she’d still be holding him. But she’s not.
She’s upstairs at the long window screaming his name,
He’s in the Ford Anglia. Soon he’ll be in Ranelagh.
John is in Milwaukie.
He’s warm, and fed, and sleeping.
In a house his Mother could never dream of, or would ever know. Ever.
His mother is in bits.
Peter’s mammy’s in a bad way.
Manchester, in a squat. Red Biddy in each hand. Not long now.
She’ll never hear or read about the Angel’s plot, the big tank,the eight hundred.
Just as well.
James’s mammy’s in the convent still.
Scrubbing, serving, broken.
She likes the new glass window of the holy children in the chapel .
Sister Myra Anasthasia put it in with money from America, they said.
She likes the light, but she can’t see through it.
She feels attracted to it, she doesn’t know why.
John’s mammy’s in New Jersey.
Older now. Looking. Always looking.
At home they found a certificate where a baby’s name was changed.
‘Maybe this is it, maybe this one’, she thought.
John is a doctor in Denver now. He knows nothing.
The Holy Holocaust.
The Holy Holocaust of Ireland, of Peter, James and John.
And their mammies.