Silencing, by Jose Varghese

Bullets find targets
when all talk seems

Words, when
let out on a rainy-day,
dash for a while,
stop to scamper
through charred wood,
pant, bark,
craving for a real pat.

Guns don’t
take aim at them.
A poke on
their butts in jest
is all that’s done,
to see if
the creatures
turn around.

Some do,
wag tails and jump up
to catch what’s
thrown upwards,
munch it, in
mindless meditation
before running
back to their masters.

Some run for life.

But some
piddle on the barrels,
quench all the fire,
before running where
they were headed,
not looking back
even once.

That’s when
their masters
are searched out,
and it takes no time
before guns get
positioned promptly
from the dark,
and bullets come
destined to meet
the target
before it’s late.


Jose Varghese is a bilingual writer/editor/translator from India. He is the author of ‘Silver Painted Gandhi and Other Poems’ (2008) and his short story collection ‘In/Sane’ was a finalist in the 2018 Beverly Prize for International Writing, UK. His poems and short stories have appeared in journals/anthologies like The Salt Anthology of New Writing 2013, Unthology 5, The River Muse, Chandrabhaga, Kavya Bharati, Postcolonial Text, Dusun and Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis. He was the winner of The River Muse 2013 Spring Poetry Contest, a runner up in the Salt Flash Fiction Prize 2013, and a second prize winner in the Wordweavers Flash Fiction Prize 2012. His works were shortlisted in Hourglass Short Story Contest and two Eyewear Fortnight Poetry Press in 2017, and was commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2014.

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