February 15, 2019


I Am Heartbroken


last night at around eleven

every one of our cell-phones

rang, a child had been stolen

by her father, intending harm

to himself and to his daughter

a child, his own flesh-and-blood

think about that for a moment


he meant harm to his daughter

and succeeded, she is no more

a family is bereaved, it bleeds

think about that for a moment


yet seconds after our cell-phones

rang, calls came to nine-one-one

complaining about the late hour

and inconvenience of the alarm

that roused them from their rest

think about that for a moment


a child has been stolen, is dead

and lost sleep is the problem?


think about that for a moment



On February 14, her birthday, eleven

year old Riya Rajkumar was murdered

by her own father. Police issued an

Amber Alert late that evening, which

rang all cell-phones in Ontario, telling

us of the missing child and asking us

to keep our eyes open for sign of her.


That many of us called 911 to complain

about the alarm that woke them up is

almost as heartbreaking as her death.


I Am Heartbroken
A poem by Peter Rhebergen

Copyright 2021

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