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Twilight saw them coming.
Knocking our door down.
Shadowy figures ….
Men in shadows … shadows of men —
Reaching, dark arms enveloping,
my son,
my precious boy.
They dragged him out — screaming!
Into war, into darkness, into the night —
the womb of madness that bears no light.

Traitor to the people, they spat out.
Snatching his dog tag,
they broke him down.
Made him kiss the ground.
Government dog!
They roared, hitting him.
I begged and I cried,
for my son,
my precious boy ….

My son,
who was six pounds when he was born.
A tiny baby with innocent brown eyes,
who barely made me sleep with his cries.
My precious boy,
who started walking at eight months old,
who curiously touched and tasted everything,
while I watched the wonder in his eyes unfold.
My son,
who hugged and kissed me when I got home,
and told me stories about his friends,
and how much of his allowance did he spend.
My precious boy,
who fell down from a tree when he was eight,
who was always running late,
and chucked the veggies on his plate.
My son,
who fell in love at eighteen,
got his heart broken by the Prom Queen,
and then decided that he’d join the Marines.
My precious boy,
who told me he loved me,
that he’d take care of his Mama when she is old,
who would patiently fetch me a coat when I was cold.
My son ….

They never knew that about him.
They only saw what they wanted —
My son is the brass and the trim.
Blinded by their cause, locked up in hate,
they refused to see the man inside.
These shadows of men —
stood dim and grim.
Passing judgment, passing sentence.
Reducing men to just two kinds.
And my son, my precious boy,
for them, belongs to the other side.

They found me cradling him.
My tears bathing him.
His rotting body in my embrace,
while I sang his favorite lullaby
from his childhood days.
My son, my precious boy ….
They brutalized him — in front of me,
like he wasn’t human, like he was a nobody.
He was my son.
My precious boy … slowly died ….
And when the light went out of his eyes,
everything, for me, went dark inside.


“Woman in Distress” by Benedicto Cabrera aka Bencab. National Museum, Manila.

The painting portrays a woman silently suffering because of poverty. Although it is tackling a different subject, I still decided to use it for this poem, because one can palpably feel the pain, loneliness and hurt emanating from this artwork. I thought that such a visual presentation of said emotions is apt for the tone of my poem.