A Stray’s Life

For all the street dogs in Singapore who have been thoughtlessly culled, and for those who will be culled in the name of redevelopment

there is a deafening quiet
in the stillness of the park
it is hollow without you

out of habit I strain my eyes
to focus on the row of trees
as I walk back from the station

or catch myself looking out the window
for the 19th time hoping to spot
your brown childish frame

Buangkok boy.
Kang kang.

you brought us together
to save a life, yours
but really you saved me

it is hard to grieve in a manicured city without a heart
what does it mean to only feel the pain of losing you 18 days later?

Buangkok boy.

you are now in a shelter
with your mother and brother
but nothing gold can stay

word’s out that the land
is slated for redevelopment
in 6 months

can one ever truly be free?

where will you go
when you are forced to leave?

luckless; is empathy a luxury
we cannot afford?

in my mind you are playing
in the rain

rolling on the
playground turf
greeting me at the roundabout

running and
yelping on freshly cut grass


Esther Vincent teaches Literature at the School of the Arts, Singapore. She believes that poetry should empower, not exclude, engage, not evade. She is co-editor of Little Things, an anthology of poetry and the accompanying Teacher's Guide. Her poems have been published in The Journal of Remembered Arts, Eastlit, and other publications, Her poem 'Excuse me, what is your race?' about race and identity was translated into Russian in To Go To S'pore by Kirill Cherbitski. Read other articles by Esther.