As the crack of dawn grows near,
The bustling nightlife tapers to a minimal cheer.
I board the Night Owl; the lone female passenger,
Greeted with the furrowed eyebrows of a brutish driver.

Tense, I move to a seat and settle beside a window pane,
Gazing out as the bus roars out of its lane.
The state flags hang limp, no longer at half-mast.
Devoid of wind, motionless, it reminds of the past.
Life went on; our steps traced familiar routes.
Strangers exchanged looks that implied being in cahoots.
We did not linger, we did not speak.
But we shared the present atmosphere that was bleak.
A shroud of sorrow clung to the nation.
A tragic pause applied to a grand celebration.
A perennial architect had breathed his last,
Triggering an avalanche of milestones from the past.

An iron will had melted down to ashes,
As tears flowed and dampened lashes.
Minutes of silence crawled by slowly,
Heavily laden with gratitude and filial piety.

Three words, or letters, on our lips and minds,
And within them, a legacy that binds.
The bus speeds along a familiar road and negotiates a bend.
My solo bus journey comes to an abrupt end.

The weary driver glances at the rear view mirror overhead;
A nod and a terse smile, with no words said.
I alight and walk home boldly in the dead of night,
As the crescent moon watches from above, shining bright.

Written by Uma Nathan

Full-time sub-editor. Part-time writer, copywriter, and editor all rolled into one. Photography, travel, food, reading and teaching take up whatever time remains.

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