Sofiul Azam

On the Night Train
I’m going to the city where I first learned to cope
with the boredom one has to live with
like a hump on a hunchback or like something
that threatens to suck up all the pleasures out of him.
I’m a man, who started becoming comfortable with sorrows there,
as well as my plus-size frustration wearing strappy stilettos
that objectifies my body and sexualizes me at every turn.
No, I’m not a blob fibery as a washed-up coir mattress;
but if I’d met it, what name would I have called it by?

By the city flows the Padma, once mighty
with the swift flow of water but on it are now growing
sandy river-islets like bald patches on an old head.
I turned even younger looking at kingfishers over there.
Now I’m becoming worn-out as a husband and as a father.
My family lovingly gives me many things, including
– if not limited to – anxieties like anniversary presents.
From the station, after stacking my luggage somewhere,
I’ll go and stand by the river, thinking of Heraclitus.

As a student, I loved lying on the grass and saw the stars
twinkling lovely but always remaining distant like today.
Sitting by the window, I also see how everything
is rushing to be part of the past, and those
distant house-lights becoming fuzzy in the fog
as if waiting to educate me a little more about darkness.
I’ve seen walls and got across rivers with bridges on them.
I’m wondering how many bridges we burn to make a wall,
and how many walls we break to make a bridge.

Sofiul Azam has published three poetry collections Impasse (2003), In Love with a Gorgon (2010), Safe under Water (2014) and edited Short Stories of Selim Morshed (2009). His poems are published in Prairie Schooner, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Journal, Orbis, The Cannon’s Mouth, Postcolonial Text, etc. and anthologized in Journeys, Caught in the Net, Poets Against War, Poetry for Charity Volume 2. He is now working on Earth and Windows: New and Selected Poems. He teaches English at Victoria University of Bangladesh, having taught it before at Independent University Bangladesh, Southeast University and Royal University of Dhaka.

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