• Swarna Rajagopalan, WRN Founding Member

Life (in 250 words)

How it started does not matter. Everything is different now.

A spark, a simmer, a stranger’s torch—everything burns anyway.

The first insult, the first stone—remote realities, not mine.

To rage, to wage, to flee—nothing decided by me.

The shells hurt us all, but they wound the least.

Our heavy, aching hearts by fear and uncertainty are besieged.

We wait in our homes, fretting over a hundred things.

Will she return? Did they reach safe? What is happening?

Did she run? Or was she taken? Make no sound.

Did he die? Or was he disappeared? Ask no questions.

Not knowing is the worst part. Our imaginations outdo reality.

And who do we trust? They were our best friends.

The lines cut between us, shifting constantly, landmines of betrayal.

But we will survive. We adapt. We innovate. We live.

Like weeds, we find invisible routes to seek the sun.

We learn, we teach, we write, we share, we connect.

Like water, we prevail. No fire can resist our flood.

We build as you break—homes, lives, spirits, relationships--tirelessly.

My sisters stay, tenaciously holding on to homes and lands.

My sisters leave, protecting parents and children, from terrible violence.

And then my sisters learn to fight—guns, bombs, mines.

Their bodies are now the battleground for someone else’s war.

War is a strange land. And so is this peace.

This strange pause where we now wait—my new home.

Still marginal.

Still unsafe.

Still silent.

Still vigilant.

Still alive.

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