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A manual for becoming a rebel by Sara Sethia

Photo by John Gutmann

For Kit from Elizabeth McKenna

*Kit and Elizabeth McKenna are characters from the movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

To be a rebel,

you don’t have to be strong,

you don’t have to hold your breath under the ocean,

you don’t have to walk on burning embers.


all you have to do is be a breathing, walking metaphor

for joy.


when terror

lives on your lips.

Put the last roast on the table

and share it with strangers, call it a feast

while a curfew rages outside.

Hold a child’s hand,

and rub warmth into it

even when your own two feet are dead cold.

Bake a potato peel pie,

no flour, no sugar, no butter- only potatoes and potato peels

and gulp it down with a shot of gin and wonder.

Fall in love,

fearlessly, recklessly, foolishly

as though your love is an atom,

it can’t be taken away.


sometimes to make an army crumble to dust

sometimes to let a wounded, broken body know they're safe.

Touch the trembling hands,

And hold them tighter and closer so that fear

is only cavities between your skins, your courage is whole.

Hold life like a rhyme on your tongue,

so tender, so brittle, so delicate,

it demands to be hummed in your vulnerable voice.

About the poet:

Sara is a storyteller. Her favourite word is Yurt. It's a Turkish word which means motherland and a tent you can carry from place to place. To her it signifies that the whole wide world is our home: the beaches and the mountains, the verses and the silences and she hopes to write a poem titled Yurt someday. She talks to her plants and would love to introduce you to them. She is obsessed with moss and whispers 'beautiful' everytime she sees them making love on dead, cold rocks. Follow her work on Instagram: @sethiasara.

1 Comment

Ipsita Banerjee
Ipsita Banerjee
Jun 14, 2021

Beautifully expressed...

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