An Open Letter to Hate-Mongers 

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Today you’ll rush home 

and tell your son to hate 

one person, 

one group, 

one community, 

one town, 

one state, 

one country, 

while he’ll fiddle with your last Marlboro of the day, 

his Civics textbook fluttering the Preamble, 

wondering, 

what would it take to grow into you, 

to polish your footprints and shove his 

feet on them, 

even before you leave one, 

if you ever leave one, 

what would it take 

to be your obsequious successor, you, 

who secretes hate like an enzyme in your mouth, 

who only bows down to lick the earth 

off its beauty, 

you’ll tell him that to resolve a threat 

is to conceitedly pose a larger one, 

is to be so unapologetic 

you don’t swim the waters you become the floods, 

you don’t put out the fire you put your face in it, 

and when he’ll repeat after you how 

you don’t spit apologies you vomit death threats 

like the world is your sink, 

you’ll let him have the last puff, 

you’ll let him taste your saliva because to 

spread hate, 

you have to swallow it first, 

you have to feel loved by it, 

so much so you will build walls and call them bridges, you will fuel incoherence and call it art, 

you will choke breaths and call it revolution. 

To hate, then, is to close your eyes and complain of darkness. 

Is to reach inside the womb 

and cut the umbilical cord, before 

a fetus becomes a baby, 

a baby becomes a daughter, 

a daughter becomes a wolf, 

before a boy is found touching another, 

a girl is found kissing another, 

before a minority forgets to apologize, 

before men unclog their tear glands, 

before a fat-shamed boy stops risking his life

for appalling standards of beauty, 

before a baby grows a tongue, 

tongue learns its mother tongue, 

mother tongue becomes the mother, 

mother breastfeeds words, 

words learn poetry, 

poetry grows teeth, 

teeth begin to bite. 

So you’ll tell your son to love all things that never lived enough, 

which is to say— to hate everyone who knows, 

how to breathe beneath the river 

when the land disowns them, 

when the land is confiscated by you, 

you’ll tell him 

how to spread your arms like an albatross and migrate to an acquiescent south when they’re not burning 

your homes, 

what you’ll never tell him is that an albatross signifies hope, 

and I, have no hopes for you, 

I have no hate for you. 

I have no light for you because 

you don’t belong at the end of the tunnel, 

because when the sharpened, 

famished side of the axe will linger over you, and your son will rush home 

and tell you to embrace that 

one person, 

one group, 

one community, 

one town, 

one state, 

one country, 

you still won’t. 

You will keep your eyes shut, you will complain about darkness. 

You will let the axe dash through your wooden tongue. 

You will never change. 

You will never end. Because you never had a beginning. A source. 

You are always in the middle, 

at the epicentre of a war, like a brainwashed soldier, who knew no better

than loving, the only thing he should hate.


Utkarsh Kumar

Utkarsh Kumar

His mother named him Utkarsh because she wanted him to not be too far ahead in the roll number list. While his name meant exactly opposite— to be at the top. Dangling between this ironic dilemma, Utkarsh holds onto poems, and stories to fulfil the meaning of his otherwise bland life. He believes words have the power to bring together people, eliminate distances, start a revolution, and carry it through. He daydreams about Hosseini’s Afghanistan, Murakami’s Japan, and Bond’s India.

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