A Poem About Ireland’s Abortion Laws | I can do horror

I can do horror

I can do horror
Write it anyway.
Blackfriars Bridge got its name
From something terrible and fantastical that happened
Because of the strange, black-garbed phantoms
That walked the streets of London once.

That was my first published story.
Then, there was

A half-Inuit girl with a sister
Who doesn’t die when she slips beneath Arctic ice.


Anne in Dublin has such vivid dreams
Memories of 1690’s Salem terrifyingly clear.

A zombie with an existential crisis
Pondering morals
As she gnaws on a teenager’s tibia
Is currently under review
At literary journals out of my league.

But words won’t play with me this time
I can’t write what I need to say
Words just seem too weak.

I tried to make something out of numbers
Took the age of an imaginary girl
Some day, Ireland will make her real
And that frightens me.
When she happens
“Never Again” won’t be good enough
Neither will the usual play on rhyme and spelling
Rosaries, ovaries
Praying, preying

I took her age
Took her sentence
Got the difference
Fourteen years is
Two years longer than she’s lived, yet, behind bars,
If she finds she’s pregnant, gets scared, and panics.

Numbers don’t add up to anything decent, words let me down
I can’t write horror, after all,
not when it’s real, not when it’s now.