Story Line

© By Ruth Carr

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In memory of Ann Lovett and her sister

Once upon an evening after school
This young girl, neither ugly nor beautiful,
Slipped past the Church
To squat inside a grotto on the floor.
Hugging a bundle of baby clothes,
She laid them out beneath the Blessed Virgin’s chiselled feet
Before she bore a child with no man’s name.
Unlike that ancient tale of starlit stall
No creature shared her secret or her pain
And only when her body broke with shock
Someone stumbled on them in the dark.

Her father racing with blankets for them both,
Placing the stillborn child between two hot bottles all too late.
Carried to a car and then indoors,
She bled beside a weak, oil-burning stove
And slipped away once more without a word –
This time for good.
And everybody said We didn’t know.

Backs closed around the grave, tight-knit in grief.
New-formed and full-grown child
Are lowered with all eyes and loss of face –
Spread across a million breakfast tables.
No excuse,
Nothing to be salvaged but a heap of little clothes
Which will not go to waste.

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