Moira’s Diary – The Handmaid’s Tale

Thought I’d post this on here after finding it on my laptop. It’s a creative response to Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, giving Moira’s perspective instead of Offred’s narration in the original text. I wrote this for AS English Literature a few years back and it received full marks.

The following is a printed transcript and extract from a recently discovered diary; the writer is believed to have been a Handmaid of the Republic of Gilead, two hundred years earlier and to have escaped months before the renowned uprising. The diary was discovered five hundred feet underneath what was assumed to have been a well-known contemporary brothel. The text is below; although much is illegible, it is now being used as source material for Gileadean Studies, at Cambridge University, England.


This place is outstanding, I guess it could be said. Outstanding, not in the way in which is stands out, I mean, it’s a fucking brothel. More in terms of the immense coup pulled off by the men who run Gilead. Virgins for wives, whores for pleasure.

The wallpaper is a ghastly, vomit-yellow, peeling from the walls which enclose us. On occasion, the yellow mucus surroundings utterly implodes upon itself and begins to reveal confessions of the previous versions of ourselves, the whores who made it out breathing. Or the ones who didn’t. Black scrawls of fears and revelations of things that would horrify a God fearing nation. Ghost stories are written on these walls, those yellow pages of neglect and rape and power and desperation.

She thinks I’ve let myself go. She’s judging me. Bitch.

Her back arched with discomfort. She leant back against the mustard couch, her veins mounting to the surface, pupils dilating and the reek of anxiety from this hooker-to-be drained my nostrils. Offred. Oppressed Offred. This couch bleeds with the absence of what used to be; self-respect and dignity traded with a sickly-coated ironic façade of the Virgin Mary.  The yellow couches are often smeared with blubbering weakness; tears that black smeared tissues couldn’t staunch. She is Mary and Eve. I am Lilith, cast out. Condemned.

“You don’t mean that.”

Confessions line the walls. Pages of yellow paper; peeling from the core. Black declarations and ghost stories and autobiographies. It makes me anxious. Am I next? Where do they find these black biros, to add to this log, this community, of those who pass over when that time comes? Those who couldn’t cope?  I am barricaded by whores with pipes between their lips. My throat is a desert, my tongue grains of sand. If I could, I’d growl. That wouldn’t be speech, but speech is golden. Speech isn’t allowed. Men’s biology is an imposition to our mouths. We are gagged for their desire. We are gagged by it. They enjoy watching us choke.

Offred’s eyes are padded cells for examination. She’s fucking my head. I almost feel guilty.

You left. I know. Aunt Elizabeth’s clothes are still at the back of my closet. The Red Centre would kill to have me back; it’d brighten the place up a little. I’m a symbol of almost-salvation, for those Handmaids. At least, that’s what the rest say. There’s a couple who arrived in the last six months, from a centre nearby. I was just a myth to them. The woman, who took an Aunt’s clothes, tied her up and ran. Maybe they’ll be my last fucking words, a couple of years from now. My scrawls, my memoir, up in dark ink, behind the wallpaper of this haven. Ironically, I’ll be a Saint.

We slept in what had once been a hotel lobby. The citrus walls, flaking with what had once been cries for help. The hotel business was shut down around fifteen years a go. It was supposed to be cleared completely, yet a closet still stands. Some consistency remains. Scrawls of Latin, I’m guessing, engrave the base of the wood. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. It made me smirk. Offred would’ve laughed too, had she been there then. Now, she’s sunk in this sallow chair, my mirror image, uncomfortable and exposed and violated, in this unflatteringly tight corset. Not your best look, pal. A gift from her Commander probably, with not a word to spill from her clownish red chops. I could slap her across the face. That’d give a bit of colour to those pasty cheeks. She looks starved. You never used to be able to shut her up.

I’m not Moira. Moira, full of spirit and rebellion, the mythical whore, who offers faith. I’m a replacement, a scandal. Glazed with face cream and fishnets.  I’m not her anymore. I’m a thing, a symbol, a number. I’m everything I stood against. I’m an object. I’m fucking men. I’ve had Gilead force-fed down my throat. I’m choked and I’m retched and I’m gagged for the pleasure of those who dominate me. For the pleasure of those who dominate us.

She looks tired, her youthful face prematurely aged. She used to suffer from the curse of youth, particularly in college; it was a real effort trying to get her into clubs.  Now she has no problem, clearly, the Commander on her arm, her first night out in years.

Luke aged her, too.

I’m nostalgic with this college girl sat beside me. I’d never let her leave the apartment dressed like that back then. She never had the legs. Bless.

You may as well be my mother’s daughter. She loves you more. No jealousy, though. A shared sisterhood.

My heart aches, memories make my mind throb; another large strip of paper peels towards us. My heart jolts: ‘…die’ is the latest word in the log of ghost stories, hidden behind yellow covers. I’m fenced in, I’m going crazy, my heart is racing. I swallow and swallow again, bile circling my gut. Offred is


This is the last of the transcript. It is believed by those who discovered the Handmaid’s diary, that the remainders of this extract are missing and that either the pages have been torn out, or the author did not write any more.


This Beating Shape

One year

encompassed by my heart strung

across Paperchase postcards;

a tangible copy of my soul, now sat waiting

in your College pigeon-hole.


Legs intertwined amongst our make-shift bed of

blankets and last night’s sweat and lust.

With you, lust isn’t temporary, lust is

sick to my stomach, a comforting nervousness.

The way your lips imprint my collar bones,

our hearts stitched as one.


One year of your fingers sewn to fit between

the gaps of mine.

The way your hair shines in the depths of winter,

for you are the sun’s companion in the frost.

365 alterations to my otherwise mundane

days of feeling your breath on the nape of my neck.

Even when your lips are 2 hours away.

For your shadow, your fingertips have formed a

carbon copy on my heart.


You have it always. This organ, this beating shape

under layers of skin, you’ve only strengthened.

I know that’s true. My rib-cage, now painted with

turquoise forcefield.

I’m not afraid anymore.

You’re to thank for that.

No, I’m Gay (A slam poem)

Hi, my name is Lu-
Wait, it’s not like you care.
You’ve already made assumptions based
on my hair,
Both the length on my head
and what’s down there.

For my sex life, my body image
is clearly your business, broadcasted news.
If you can convince me it’s a phase,
for it’s God’s message (well done you.)

Clearly what porn portrays is
a rehearsal for my real past time.
Asking if I scissor is obviously fine.
But you don’t want tips, you’re not that way inclined.
You ask if you can join,
for lesbian means fetish…
So why would I mind?

As if holding my girlfriend’s hand
is some kind of offence
Yet your Porn Hub’s biggest fan,
So it’s doesn’t make sense.

I mean, you’re clearly what I’m after,
what’s missing, the guy I’m really looking for.
A man whose surname I require,
‘Two women only?’ ‘Fancy a threesome?’ Wait,
you’re telling me you’re —”

‘Can I watch?’ ‘So, what is it you do?’ isn’t invasive at all…
I have it easy, ‘boys are dicks’, I’ve heard it all before.

A ‘gay marriage’ is different, exotic, some big day out,
‘I went to a GAY wedding’, your colleague exclaims,
but behind closed doors, nothing’s changed.

Sure, I wear dresses, makeup, no buzz-cut in sight,
for if it’s not penetrative, it’s not real sex, right?
‘Please make me straight’ I’m no church goer, but I pray,
‘I’m not interested’, ‘I’m taken’, ‘I see you as a friend…’

No, I’m…

The Scream

A screethe-screamch, a yelp, a cry-for-help,

the sex-less Orient weeps. The wind’s cries

wound the clouds in a child-like scribble. Broken colour

erodes the sky in a volcanic mess.

The red smoke fuelling the creature’s trauma; terror-stricken, a product of time’s inevitable toll.


Or perhaps it’s euphoric, ecstatic, a wail of joy,

an outcast of the field’s decay. The sky eroding in an attack of Crayola,

its cloud’s clashing patchwork now bruised; emotionally tainted by human vandals.


For watchers dissect the image, responsible in decoding a painter’s allusion.

Strangers can’t make sense of the uncomfortable scene.

Why must we untangle, make sense, of a lost cause’s mind?

For God’s sake, let the lone wanderer scream.


You’re the girl immersed in the city

colour, from slate grey to

carnival inked maps.

You’re lilac, a colourful orbit, a

translucent, iridescent sun-rise,

Tying me to the shore, like an anchor.

You’re keeping me ship-wrecked,

and captive, safely so.


My heart is meshed, knitted in a

tight, make-shift spider’s web.

Laced in a mesh of passion

and goodbyes.


You’re my lighthouse in the rocky storm.

You’re rainbow infused safety,