Six Ways of Looking at Love When the World is Ending by Ilika Tripathi

I. If the world is ending, don’t come to see me
Because that would mean that you took a bus
And you hate taking buses – the wait, the journey, the destination
And that’s when I’d realize yet again, how much I love you.

II. What if when the apocalypse hits, there are showers of flowers?
I think I’d say, “let’s take a walk, the weather is beautiful”
And then we’d go to grab a bite to eat, and see everyone crying
Coming back, we’d bike over to your place. I wonder if we’d reach.

III. If I wake up one day and I’m a worm, would you still love me?
If I wake up one day and I’m a tree, would you still love me?
If I wake up one day and I’m a piece of plastic, would you still love me?
If I wake up one day and I’m like a weird mixture of a parrot and a horse –

IV. What if suddenly, the Earth becomes flat, and the water flows off?
What if they come to us and ask if they can store all the water in your dimples?
I would say yes, because then you’d smile forever. But maybe I’d say no too.
Because Sisyphus’ lover probably didn’t like it when her lover hurt.

V. If things were normal, we’d be talking about spending 50 years together
It makes me feel weird that now we only want to spend the rest of our lives together
If things were normal, we’d drink from plastic straws without having panic attacks
It makes me feel weird that now, there is only guilt and shame and anger.

VI. I’ll see you on the other Earth. The one with fresh air, clean lives, new beginnings
There, we’ll have a little house, we’ll fend for ourselves, we’ll live a simple life
There, we’ll raise our children, we’ll laugh, we’ll discover the lure of industrialism
I think that Earth will also die, but at least long after we’re gone. The cycle continues.

Ilika Tripathi was born in Lucknow, India and came to the US for her college education. For her, poetry is a way of both contextualizing and abstracting her lived and shared realities.


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