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After Coming Out of the Cocoon, a Poem by Sofiul Azam

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams

if I started, “Once upon a time, not so long ago,

lived a man with a habit of regretting his mistakes

and making more in the process,”

would it be about somebody other than me?

I don’t know it for sure

but I, too, punch in again

and put more into the losing concern

like an inveterate gambler doubling down

on a losing bet even though I know

pinning my hopes on a miracle is a disaster.

I don’t ask anybody to feel sorry for me.

I’m so cut off from everything else

that it seems the isolation has insured me

against every catastrophe in the end

but it’s not so even as it appears to be accurate.

I might be too afraid to ask the damn questions

but I know there’s nothing

as constant as change itself.

In the trenches of life’s brutal frontlines

where a body collector’s body

often gets missing on the battlefronts,

I close in on happiness – though a bit rarely –

in the face of my sorrows’ fierce resistance,

pushing the warring borders out to a quiet horizon.

Out of their ideological blindness,

the neocons keep publishing

the garbage I can’t even begin to imagine

like western media coverage in a nutshell.

I wonder if a pause is even possible once in a while.

Will hush money payments

or a bit of a fluke make any difference?

There are always chances they’ll break

into the defense line again.

If I must sprint through hurdles

like strength and time, I must not wait

– though stressed out – until the ground gets trafficable.


Sofiul Azam has four poetry collections Impasse (2003), In Love with a Gorgon (2010), Safe under Water (2014), Persecution (2021) and edited Short Stories of Selim Morshed (2009). His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Pirene's Fountain, North Dakota Quarterly, The Ibis Head Review, The Ghazal Page, Cholla Needles, Poetry Salzburg Review, Orbis, The Cannon’s Mouth, Postcolonial Text, and elsewhere. Some poems are anthologized in Two Thirds North, fourW: New Writing 28, Journeys, Caught in the Net among others. He is working on This Time, Every Time and Days in the Forested Hills. He currently teaches English at World University of Bangladesh, having taught it before at other universities.


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