The Zookeeper’s Boy

The Zookeeper’s Boy
By Laremy Lee

Dusk descending
like roller shutters marking
close of a long day.
Finally found him

playground frolicking
devoid of footwear
and understanding
how he had made us worry:

Koon Chong!
Where were you?
I was here, Mummy.
Where were you?

Raised my hand
like an elephant’s trunk
to spank him;
teach him a good lesson.

Looked into the pupil
of his eye and saw my guilt
reflected back at me
as clear as plexiglass:

I’d been so busy tending
to the animals in my zoo
that I’d cobbled my own child
out of a pair of shoes.

First published in Goh, W., Lee, A. and Lee, W. F., eds. Ceriph (Issue Five). Singapore: Ceriph, 2012. 82. Print.