Rope by Orla Broderick

A blue twine noose

hangs empty, for now,

from Carron Works desolate bridge.

A dirty river, bricked, below.

In grey rain I face

all the dead faces

and know,

there but for the grace of Mother, go I.

I was disappeared at fifteen, from all I knew, to a convent in the country. It was a punishment and meant to cure me of my evil. My crime was such it was forbidden in thought or talk. After Inter Cert I stalked the most beautiful girl in Wicklow and was suddenly locked away, far away from home. The fear I carry has roots in this. I stood on a window sill three stories high and desired the jump. At sixteen, terrified to speak the truth of me, I knew I had to lie to live. Or die. A nun found me there, on her way to wake the snoring dormitory. She showed no shock, she offered no comfort. I told her I must have been sleep walking.
I had been removed from friends, neighbours and folk who cared, to an institution deep in the heart of Ireland. Without choice, without voice, without a soul to hear me, I desired death and destruction for myself. But, there was a woman in that school called Mrs. O’Shea and she taught me the love of the written word, of poetry, of putting hard times into words, with feeling. I learned, at seventeen, to write it out. Thirty years later and I am getting the hang of it, both the living and the scribing.

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