Togher, Tuam, Co Galway, September 1987

New Irish Writing: October’s winning poem by Attracta Fahy

Attracta Fahy

Attracta Fahy


Togher, Tuam, Co Galway: September 1987

I don’t want to forget you,
my invisible one with no name,

the warm clench of you will not die,
even in claw of death.

I will not forget
I was making bread when you came away,
first a dart, a knife forced up between my legs,
spears slashed my vulva,
spikes jabbed into visceral skin.

I will not forget
the sting, a lance cutting my womb,
wrenched, tearing flesh, feet to heart,
my silent scream, my breath a blade.

I will not forget
how trickles of blood streamed in lines,
one after another down my legs,
long red tears pooled over my shoes,
clasped to stop the bleed.

I will not forget
how alone I felt, like late at night
in a dark field, blinding tears, my dry mouth.
You were coming away, tearing loose, a volume
of clots gushed, lumps of jelly, weight in my groin.

I will not forget
getting to the bathroom, my inflamed rickety body,
white bowl splattered in red, floor a mass
of ruddy splashes, crimson paper, bloodied towel.

I will not forget
I bundled drenched tissues into stove,
fire flared in orange, yellow flames,
dried black on my tongue,

I will not forget
when it stopped, rushed to doctor,
‘test still positive,’ he said, ‘came away clean,’
‘complete abortion,’ his medical term,
the tiled floor no comfort.

I will not forget
I didn’t know you existed.

I will never forget
my return, the bleak of kitchen, desolate home,
half made dough, not knowing
if you’d flushed or burned, guilt crawled
like a rat over my skin.

Out through the window, rolling
green fields, cows mother their calves,
sheep with their lambs.
I wanted to feel the soft of your skin,
its silk breeze on my face, your colour,
eyes, hair. I wanted to have
your storms, rain, thunder, your smile.
I wanted even the dead of you.

No, I will not forget your existence,
All that labour without knowing, holding,
whoever you were.

I will not forget
when I told him, he said, washing his hands,
‘How did that happen?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I replied,
‘Is there any dinner?’
We never spoke of you again.

Attracta Fahy’s background is nursing/social care. She works as a psychotherapist, lives in Co Galway, and is mother to three children. She completed her MA in Writing NUIG in 2017, and participates in Over the Edge poetry workshops. Her poems have been published in many magazines and journals at home and abroad. She has been included in The Blue Nib Anthology, shortlisted for 2018 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year, and a Blue Nib nominee for Pushcart. She has had a poem nominated for Best of the Net Anthology 2019, and is working towards her first collection