3 Poems from Rona Fitzgerald


Womankind


In my Irish childhood, men were at work.
Children and women had the run of the house.


Street life flourished. Women could drink tea,
congregate in kitchens and gardens. Even in the special parlour.


We never said ‘rape’.


 Family, church, the Irish people gave us phrases – 
‘frightened, interfered with  a bit of bother’


When they asked me, aged seven, what happened, 
I didn’t know the words. At eleven, I still couldn’t say.


Men were protected from other men’s actions;
Girls and women were exposed, shamed.



Unmarked


From 1966 until 1972, I cycled to school in Drumcondra passing the High Park laundry. In 1993 the nuns who had run the laundry applied for a licence to exhume 133 women who died while incarcerated there, in order to sell the site to a developer.  They could provide death certificates for only 75 women. During the exhumation the remains of another 22 nameless Magdalene women were unearthed. 



When I allow myself, I can still feel 
her new born fingers as she clasped mine. 
I never wanted to let go.


But what life could I have given her
enclosed in a laundry where my name 
has been changed and nobody knows me?


‘There is no saint called Maebh, 
we will call you Mary, after the mother of God.’



Mammogram


Despite the chill of a February morning,
a man with waxy orange skin is outside 
the clinic hooked up to a mobile drip, smoking.


Can you put on the gown please? 
Not catwalk style but dry like wax paper or butterfly ash. 
Then three rounds of the harsh machine. 


On the way home, purple crocuses, alive 
in crusty snow-blanched soil. And I wondered 
what kind of flower would I choose, in the end.  

Rona Fitzgerald appears in Poems For Grenfell Tower.

About the contributor

Rona Fitzgerald was born in Dublin and now lives in Glasgow. Her poetry is published in UK, Scottish, Irish and US, in print and online. Highlights include featured poet in the Stinging Fly 2011, Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry 2016, Oxford Poetry XVI.iii Winter 2016-17. Resurrection of a Sunflower, Pski’s Porch 2017. The Passage Between, Issue 1 Spring 2018. Recent publications are Poems for Grenfell Tower, Onslaught Press 2018, #Me Too, Fair Acre Press, 2018. Ramingo’s Porch magazine 2019, Nothing Substantial Literary magazine Spring 2019, Anthology for James Watt, ‘HORSEPOWER’ forthcoming New Voices Press, 2019.

Related Articles

Understanding Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. By Ada Wofford

Understanding Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey - by Ada Wofford

Absence Eased by Edward Lee

Edward Lee -Absence Eased My daughter lives forty-eight kilometres from me in the house I bought with her mother, the house I still own; the...

Featured Poet Paige Elizabeth Wajda

Paige Elizabeth Wajda is a Choctaw writer from California and Head of Poetry for The Selkie.

More Like This

Poetry by P.C Vandall

PLATO AND THE PEPSI CHALLENGE Plato frowns up at me from the pages of a dusty old textbook I’m reading. He looks the...

Nothing by Mouth and Other Poems by Samn Stockwell

Nothing by Mouth She tapped the tracheal plug  into his neck and spooned cold  spaghetti into his empty mouth. He choked, spaghetti...

Featured Poet Paige Elizabeth Wajda

Paige Elizabeth Wajda is a Choctaw writer from California and Head of Poetry for The Selkie.

J. J. Steinfeld, Featured Poet

Author of twenty titles, J.J Steinfield.

Peter Bakowski, Featured Poet

  Wake up call and other poems   The Magdalen laundries, Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne 1932Emerge from stone cold rooms. The penance of work will cure you ofNocturnal...