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For Millennials On The Eve Of The Apocalypse by Megha Rao

Linocut by Bronislaw M. Bak

For Millennials On The Eve Of The Apocalypse

do not succumb to the hard earth and lose heart

when you wake up to the news of postponed exams

and the government’s bans

burial grounds out of space and lay-offs in your

workplace, your books will stop selling

your long-distance lover will stop calling

and the sky will feel like it’s falling

on you – but don’t you dare fall with it

don’t you dare think for a second your boat will not float

in the midst of catastrophe, teach your hands to row towards calm waters

turn your spine into a steel fortress of courage, comrade

because courage can kill the deadliest of enemies

your resilience can be the strongest of remedies

do not be tempted by beasts and spirits

flitting through the night, their faces cold white

as they grace through the ground where vanquished you were found

do not give them your soul when you were meant to be whole

because even on the eve of the apocalypse

it will rain on hills, the grass will be a sliver of emerald

sunflowers will shower in light, windows will bask in hues of gold

nothing will stop you from having a big breakfast, not even the worst

of times could take away your right to little joys

and despite the guilt from wars outside, caring for yourself will never be wrong

even on the eve of the apocalypse

you will get off bed, brush your teeth

no loss can keep you down

no horror can quell your sound

every step ahead is resurrection, every breath is revolution

I know the lure of agony

I know in your personal underground, there is familiarity

comfort in staying broken but you must be wise

enough to rise

fight it, climb the mountains you were born to conquer

clean the hurt repeatedly, your tragedy is not your identity

do the small things though they seem futile or take the longest while

bring out your paints and playlists

play with friends on computer screens

I won’t promise it’ll change much

but at least it’ll break the age-old pattern

of drowning in grief

and repeat after me, a brand new prayer:

I refuse to be swallowed.

I refuse to be swallowed.

I refuse to be swallowed.

Repeat after me,

I have seen the warm womb that darkness offers,

and I have learnt to say no when it calls.

Megha Rao is a poet and visual artist from Kerala. Megha's work has been featured on platforms such as Penguin Random House India, Firstpost, The Open Road Review, New Asian Writing, Spoken Fest, Why Indian Men Rape and Thought Catalog, and trended at #1 on Spotify podcasts in India. Megha has also been interviewed by leading newspapers such as The Hindu, New Indian Express, Business Standard among some notable others. Megha is a postgraduate in English Literature from the University of Nottingham, UK, and when she's not working on her debut poetry collection, Teething (HarperCollins), she facilitates workshops for young poets.


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