A piece - which I worked on since 2013 - has finally found a home in Unhomed, a collection of prose and poetry by Ethosbooks.
I kept revisiting this poem, condensing it from a narrative form of around two hundred words to this eventual distillate.
How do I put it?
It is one of those life experiences that writing is supposed to absolve (and naturally doesn't).
It is about abuse, based on an experience with a child who lived a five minute walk away. The boy, with his collection of bruises, had shocked the teenage me. Sheltered in school and confronted with the dreaded O levels and puzzled by the reluctance of adults to do anything, I had avoided the child.
Every now and then, I would take a detour to see if he was still living there. About three years ago, his home was redeveloped.
As a civil servant embedded in the public education system and an adult (?), I have grown to understand that there are many just don't care simply because they have too many problems of their own to care about others' problems.
There are parents who fulfilled their reproductive potential and pretty much did nothing else. There are some who keep having children whom they will not look after.
A recent outing reminded me that I used to dream about pursuing art. A bitter aftertaste, this realisation that I have somehow stopped at some point without even realising so.
Do I feel regret though? At least I am where I am needed and my work, while draining (always) and frustrating (almost always), is meaningful.