The Night Mother Cried

In the dark and the rain, amidst the mocking frogs and the relentless night-bugs I prayed for morning light.

‘Wake up,

we need to pray…’

Father’s words betrayed his gentle voice:

‘Your mother is sick’.

 

There she was, writhing;

like a snake stamped on the stomach.

I watched – it can’t be true!

But she groaned and twisted

and clasped my hand;

and my helplessness turned to anger

as her body quaked in pain.

 

Alas! The doctor is sixteen kilometres away,

and there is neither nurse nor medicine here;

even the quack is no more!

And there is no jeep to ferry her

on a treacherous road in this rain.

Alas! We cannot make a call –

network is a mountain-trek away

and it is one-thirty in the night!

 

'Should I awaken the villagers?

They’d make a bamboo-stretcher

to carry her on their shoulders.

They’d nurse her through the forest

even in the death of a stormy night?’

‘But we can’t – unless she’s dying.’

 

So we prayed, father and son.

Like two useless stone pillars

we closed our eyes while she bared her tears.

Cut-off from the world, left alone –

this wretched zombie government!

In the dark and the rain,

amidst the mocking frogs

and the relentless night-bugs

I prayed for morning light.

 

 

First Published:Aug. 9, 2020, 8:28 a.m.