800 Secret Prayers In Tuam

They found the bodies of 800 babies

In a septic tank at an Irish home for unwed mothers

Their only gravestone was

A news story in the Washington Post

No word on whether or not

A fog of last breaths

Lit the air each morning

Seeping out of the wet ground

Something read over morning coffee

And I cannot help but think

I said the words “starlit distant ocean”

In a memorial poem for my wife’s mother

And I said the words “How dare you pity this man?”

In my father’s eulogy

And I said a thousand, thousand things about other things

But I would struggle to say the 800 words that each one

Must have had

As a name.

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