author - translator - poet - academic
Mothers in Darkness
Anitha Devi Pillai
Two mothers sit in darkness today
in two different rooms in this island.
Neither saw it coming.
How could they have?
They knew about the class tests and early dismissals –
the school sends out schedules for things like that.
They knew about the choir practices and sports meets –
mothers circle those sorts of things on calendars.
For all of us who leave our kids at the gates
at the ONE place we know our kids are safe,
We don’t even text to find out how they are.
Texting is not allowed in schools, anyways.
But why should we?
Once we send them through those gates
We hurry off to get to our chores and tasks
until it’s time –
time for the kids to return home.
It’s all scheduled on the timetable!
That's how it's supposed to be!
But for two mothers, like you and me –
in two homes, two schedules –
that was not the case - not today.
They now sit in darkness.
No school bells to race towards,
nor school gates to drive away from.
I hope they know –
we sit in darkness with them too.
We sit in shock in this little island.
This was written in response to a terrible tragedy that occurred in a high school in Singapore.
News report: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/how-river-valley-high-school-tragedy-unfolded-student-seen-holding-axe-asking