by Meghna Chatterjee, Age 14, India
The fiction prompt for December was “letters.”
The Last Man on Earth
[September 1, 2125; a letter worn by weather]
To whom it may concern:
I can feel the world slip through my toes,
Dust and dirt and ashes of wasted human sweat,
A singular existence in a broken world,
I stand alone;
I could run onto a beach with the sand sifting through my hand,
Like a broken hourglass;
And glass scattered though the land,
And I still couldn’t run fast enough
To outrun my desecrated past.
Buildings like sand castles, broken and deserted,
Standing still like stone,
Until the waves sweep them up like a broom;
Cars like waves, flowing through the streets,
Like vaporized rain.
Until the earth is swallowed by floods of fire,
And the sediments of a planet lie in cinder and smoke,
When the dryness is lifted, the plants begin to grow,
And the world begins anew again.
Meghna says that she, as a writer, is “under construction.”
When asked what inspired this poem, she said: We were doing World War in school one day when my teacher mentioned something really interesting. “The third world war will be fought with nuclear weapons,” she said, “and the fourth, with sticks and stones.” This was rather curious because to me it meant that the industrialization and the technology that is supposed to carry mankind forward is doing nothing but helping us progress back to the time of the neanderthals. This is what really inspired my poem. The idea of a world brought to its basics by war and the power at the crux of it all: the man, singular and alone amidst his creation.