Proper Punishment

It was exact, sophisticated,

The cruelty perpetrated by the nuns

On the young girls

With the full heft of the church behind them.

Brought there

In fear and disgrace

Away from everything they held dear,

Come to give birth.

Unwed, they called them,


They called them.


Then the new, bewildered mothers allotted time

To bond with their newborns.

Their babies brought to their waiting arms

For scant moments

Then as toddlers

In between incessant chores,

Just enough to bind their hearts together,

Enough to punish



Soon enough

wrenched from their arms

And left to watch from behind the bolted convent windows,

Their tiny children loaded into strangers’ cars

Bound for America

And homes their mothers would never see.


The children pressed their faces against the back windows

As they inched down the drive,

Nervous, curious,

Not yet bereft,

Wondering of their mothers

Who clutched one another

From behind the misted windows





  1. Doug   •  

    I can picture it in my mind. Thanks for the journey. Well written!

  2. Charles Neville   •  

    So graphic and moving – In your unique style. Charles

  3. Alex Mosher   •  

    My Dear Tricia……..every serving gets a little more potent !

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