Two Poems

by Migs Bravo-Dutt

 "Pampanga Excursion, No. 207" by  Tasi Alabastro  |  ISSUE THREE

"Pampanga Excursion, No. 207" by Tasi Alabastro ISSUE THREE


Someone Else's Mother


“Emma imagined a chain of mothers parenting other mothers’ children around the globe.”

— "The Cost of Caring," by Rachel Aviv; New Yorker


In Singapore, there are at least 70,000 foreign domestic helpers who come from the Philippines. Many of them, too, are mothers who have left behind their children to take care of other mothers’ children.


She laughs at the little girl’s antics
As she wipes off cookie crumbs
And milk spills on the white top
That no longer bears yesterday’s stains

She combs the little girl’s hair
With a hundred strokes
That could send even the fullest moon
To sleep as her mother used to say

Her hands now coarse with time
Build mountains from green scraps
She stops pink balloons from floating away
And holds the little girl’s rainbow together

Across the sea another girl, her child, waits
For Sundays to hear her mother’s voice
And waits longer to feel her mother’s touch
Through a care package sent for Christmas


All the yellow bells
Have fallen now
But I see you
Still craning
Your neck
Past the empty pond
At sunrise
And at sunset too

They say your type
Is solitary
But when they say
They mean
Migration in pairs

And yet
All this time
I, too, have not seen
Anyone else.

Migs Bravo-Dutt is originally from the Philippines and is now based in Singapore. Her short fiction "Must Love Dog" is included in 22 New Asian Short Stories (2016). Migs has co-edited Get Lucky: An Anthology of Philippine and Singapore Writings, a Singapore Writers Festival bestseller in 2015. She has contributed poetry to several Singapore anthologies including SingPoWriMo, From Walden To Woodlands, and Ceriph Literary Journal. She has also written for Royal Bhutan Druk Air’s Tashi Delek, annual travel guides for Expat Living, and other newsletters.