It was exact, sophisticated,
The cruelty perpetrated by the nuns
On the young girls
With the full heft of the church behind them.
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
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,
Not yet bereft,
Wondering of their mothers
Who clutched one another
From behind the misted windows