To a Gunman

Like the mysterious rise of your enemy’s language,

I’m simply out there where love gets voted down,

where hate crimes are only other things on the rise,

where misfits like me either remain misfits all their life

or make headlines only as upturned cockroaches.

If I ever trembled before your gun-barrel, I’d say:

Before you are done with me, stay with me a bit longer.

Do me a favor – wait a little with me to watch squirrels


climb up a tree over there by the lake. Look, how smart

and death-defying they are, hoarding nuts into that

tree’s gnarled twigs hollowed by termites and swept

clean by the south wind. The music of ripples on the lake

soothes their minds like rain. By the way, did you know

rain is the buzzing of bees vertically landing on flowers?

The moment I think of flowers I see the redness of roses

immaculate as the blood you will spill today. It’s as


if you’d by mistake pour coffee onto my writing.

Once I reined in the leash of my unrest by looking

at those smart squirrels bringing nuts to their babies.

I often come here to detox my evils. Shower me,

if you like, with bullets as if to water dying roses of my blood –

ink for your death script. Take this blood as my offering.

Even though no holy verse is ever written in blood,

only love gets bloodstains out as sunlight does darkness.


*Published in The Daily Star (Bangladesh), Cholla Needles (USA)

and New Writing – fourW: Twenty-Eight (Australia)

Name: Sofiul Azam

Department of English