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On a date to be confirmed,
when those who remember 1983
will sleep safely in their graves,
or be anxiously telling nurse
about the auld ones with crucifixes
they think are coming to get them
a girl, today
on holidays from primary school,
by then grown into
a Maggie Thatcher suit, will thank
the Chamber of Commerce
for use of their microphone
as a pulled chord unwraps a figure
chipped from stone
of those forced
to change trains at Crewe clutching
solitary suitcases that screamed
one night only,
those that bled out in the backs
of London taxis after journeys
made possible by post office accounts
and extra hours at the newsagent’s;
all because of a stick
which, for them, turned
the wrong colour
the wrong year
in the wrong country.
And as the Minister continues,
across the road a little girl will grab
her mother’s arm and ask:
“what’s that lady saying?”
On Friday, there is a referendum to remove the ban on abortion inserted into the Irish constitution in 1983. Several women and girls have over the years taken legal action against the Irish state to obtain the right to an abortion or the right to travel to Britain for one. There are many recently unveiled monuments around Ireland to victims of other past abuses, such as the women detained in the Magdalene laundries, and this poem looks forward to the day some future Irish government minister unveils a monument to the victims of the 8th Amendment, which by then many will not even remember.
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