Shortlisted for The Antonym February Poetry Contest

Artwork by Sumona Rahman Choudhury

for Sania Dar

At your door it’s a message; they peek first through the window and speak all the time in hope that you understand.

Quiet, it’s 3 before dawn. Do nothing. Hear, hear. Listen when it calls. Say nothing, you’re not supposed to.

It’s a shrill call. A cry, to ask for help. A loud and secretive cheer. It’s something you don’t know.

And if your tousled hair is caressed in quiet, do not look back or perhaps do, but the voice will only hang in blank air.

Sometimes you’ll think of the ones you’ve lost, or of the ones that left without a word. Some of them might wish to talk. One last time. Or again.

But there’s kindness in letting go of the dead. The best you can do is ask forgiveness and not wait for it.

So, when at night, at 3, you’re in the kitchen. Thinking of water and a snack. The fridge light dysfunctional. Know you’re not alone, be kind.

When you listen to the floorboards creaking, the soft footfalls, the blink of the eyes, the heart murmurs, the lovesongs, do not look back.

Guide, guard your body. Sing songs of your own. And the best of those songs, it’s your shadow that sings. It’s nothing.