Pity the Children

Juliet was fourteen

they say

when she first met her Romeo

eyes glancing at a formal dance.

Childhood was shorter then,

and is again —

when I was fourteen a girl

in my class, Anna,

had her first (of four)


I was slower at fourteen,

still lost in fairy tales

of slaying dragons.

Princes held no allure.

And now, twenty-four,

I think at last of having

children, and plan to give them

everything, or at least

a happy childhood.

Then I remember Juliet

and Anna. What are we doing

to our children?


M.A. Mohanraj

June 27, 1996