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They ask me—
What is it like to see a king fall? And I think of the madness,
The late nights and the messages sent in haste,
And his belief that he was the holder of truth,
And his hatred and ignorance and the monster he nearly became,
And I say— 

It is standing in the eye of the storm,
With Zeus’ rage pouring on all sides,
And an eerie silence under my feet.
It is the howl of the wind
That shatters windows and sends children flying
Before screeching to a halt,
And disappearing without a trace. 

They ask me—
What is it like to watch a monster reign? 

And I think of the silence,
And the serene smile on his lips;
The things he never said,
And the things his men said in his place,
And the blood on his hands darker than Lady Macbeth’s,
And the wailing of the girl I could never be,
And I say— 

It is broken glass in your heart
And grief in the cracked mirror.
It is the weight of millions of hating hearts;
The screams that will be shouted down,
And the battle you have to fight
Again and again
Even though the monster broke your sword
And killed your soul. 

They ask me—
What is it like to survive tyranny?

And I think of the long days
And even longer nights;
The silence before the dawn
That never arrives.
The eternal watchfulness
That marks the vigilance
Of a woman wronged
And unable to find rest,
And I say— 

It is words that I will never be able to say;
It is songs of anger breathed into the air
And kept secret by the wind.
It is bandaged sores on your feet,
And the hand of a kind stranger
You will never see again,
But will remember for the rest of time. 

They ask me,
With wide eyes and trembling lips,
Innocence untouched by the world—
What is it like,
To stand up again
When the storm has passed you by? 

And I think of the scars on my heart,
The shadows under my eyes,
My hair still dark, my skin still smooth,
And me not yet twenty-five, 

And I say— 

It is the morning dew on green grass,
The golden sky and the singing birds;
The sigh of relief,
And the step I take next.
It is a small act of love –
Powerful, when around hate –
The quiet but firm resolve,
The gaze straight ahead,
The smell of the flowers who bloomed
And flourished over the monster king’s grave.

Sabah Merchant is originally from Bengaluru, and currently resides in Japan as she pursues her writing goals. She enjoys reading about medieval and Renaissance English history, revisiting favourite books and shows from her childhood through an adult’s eyes, and analysing popular culture and media.

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