Slippery, Silvery Fish - a Poem

Slippery, Silvery Fish

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

September 11, 2009

I had no sense of dying

I had no sense of the God divine

Or the screechy scream of a slaughtered

Negated swine

Water was filling up my lungs

Was I wheezing?


Can one cough while drowning?

Silvery fish were swimming by,

But the river, down there

Cold and shady

Impish bungs

A boy of year two

Even death seemed an escapade

My flailing fingers grasping thru

Water charade

The swarming fish

Slippery as they were

Sinking as I was

In the depth of that murky swish

Of waves looked jovial

While water filling up my lungs

Twirled tongue, not trivial

I looked up

Splintered rays from heaven

Slicing the shadow of a dingy boat

No stethoscope, no white coat

Someone grabbed my shoulder

The right one,

Trembled, deaden

And pulled me up

There I was

On the boat

In cradle of patriarch

Beside sobbing matriarch

Coughing and wheezing

All the river water from my sinking lungs

Impish bungs

At once, taking deep breath

As if that was an exploration

This drowning

And saved acclimation

From the river of

Silvery death

The old tin suitcase

Was floating away

Or perhaps sinking


To save his son

Unlike the patriarch Abraham

The tattering machine gun from the river bank said

Tat tat tat tat tat

“Kill the infidel! Kill the heathen! Kill the rat!”

Flashes of light could be seen, water rippled more

As the bullets swerved and flayed

We were clinging on that dingy boat’s floor

While he was gasping for air

Propped up on a bed

Many years and an ocean apart

He looked at me, misty glare


With silent depart

While my stooped struggle sunk

Before that tall, lanky doctor of white coat

And unwilling stethoscope

Rebuffed the life of a terminal

Invalid? Expendable?

Like the slippery silvery fish

I slipped away

In the depth of a murky river

Uncharted sway