Placed first were the youngest, from the stillborn to the toddlers. Little bodies soon filled the old, Victorian septic tank by the hundreds over those early-middle decades. Wrapped by night in white shrouds, they were lain by God’s sweet Sisters shuffling in silence near the river Tuam. No prayers were given, for these were bastards—in death, taking space still. No markers made, but stacks stonewalled, secret atop secret, swollen soon, then sealed.
In a Galway sky, over and again, sun and moon trade places. Both cast upon the town from their heavens, altering light and line cyclically. From the river’s divide, framed by fern, alder, and stone, there are two sloping shoulders: the people on one side, safe in their colorful council flats and churches, comfortable in their schools, songs, and stories—their comings and goings a filtered buzz. Here, structures shift over time, but return as they were, so it seems. On the opposite side of the river, the demolishment begins of a hundred and twenty-year-old abbey estate, condemned. Its leveling has been planned since the last summer months. With a single implosion, grounds will rumble: beams breaking, glass shattering, bricks crumbling. Vacant since 1962, almost ten years ago, The Home’s sour past held little holy, but ghosts.
Holy, holy! Our God is right. Our God is good. Most of the townspeople do not believe in such ghosts, or of the nighttime tales, the weeping woman-voice heard by the river, whispers entwined, although they sometimes indulge them when all else makes little sense. Confusion is temporary. They believe what they’re told to believe, collectively, looking upward toward light, and what they believe validates their condition. When faith begins it’s shifting, as it does born into matter, it must be the Devil in bone. Thou shalt not fall prey to outworn superstition. Thou shalt not question authority. Reward comes heaven-bound. Return to faith, and always count your blessings.
The birth of a new structure is a blessing.
The old will fall fast to ground.