the unexpected

The Bad Hire

Aditya Shankar

The bullet is an employee stuck in the wrong job. 

I prefer missing the mark, it says. The perfect shot 

turns four-legged bulkiness into overturned cars.

Two-legged egoisms, flattened like the stuffed hide 

on a hunter’s wall. One-legged leafy wisdom, reduced 

to inaudible sobs. Never pierce a pound of flesh, it 

prays. No splattering of plasma or blood then. No 

post-mortems and surgical removals. No unwarranted 

limelight or people gathering around. No forensic 

examinations to track the fatherhood of violence. 

Loud bawls that descend like a dark cloud, an 

unending drizzle of grief. The sharpshooter isn’t my 

best friend, the bullet clarifies. Bestows the infamy

of single-bullet theory. Perched in the hands of 

children, I turn the City of God into a raging hell.

The aimless shot is the best shot, it consoles. To soar 

over the sky, to fall in a deserted strip of land, to

be lost in a garbage dump, to not be accused of

murder. The bullet wishes to retire, to be ignored. 

To be lost in layers of soil, to dissolve like a penance 

over centuries: a native that longs to return to the 

elements at the core of the earth.


Single Bullet Theory – JFK Assassination

City of God, directed by Fernando Meirelles

Aditya Shankar is a poet from Bangalore, India who has been published and translated into Malayam and English. He has work that has appeared or that is forthcoming in Buddhist Poetry Review, Columba, Collective Realms Magazine, Slippage Lit and so on. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), and XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018).

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