Poetry: "The Greatest Thing You Can Do" by Nida Admani



the greatest thing you can do

is the disservice to yourself.

you can refuse to pull back the drapes in the morning,

wear dark shades and a vitamin D deficiency

in defiance. pull back your hand,

every time it inches towards something

that makes you feel like trying again, surviving,

painting in good light,

like the person who felt blood vessels constricting

in their digestive tract and decided to call it butterflies.

vulnerability is an old friend, she

doesn’t respond too well to being left on read.

turn away when someone tries catch your attention

or talk sense into you.

no longer seek inspiration

from lilies with their mouths hanging open,

or a song that once made you think of someone.

scoff at the stories of people transcending expectations,

roll your eyes

all the way black.


the greatest thing you can do,

is pour kerosene over who you once were,

inhale the fumes of contaminated pages, affirmations

for who you once wanted to be.

cross your arms over your heart in insolence,

before the many faces from your past

of those who believed

you had something to offer,

hold instead

a match

made in heaven

a love affair between a potassium chlorate head

and a red phosphorus body,

and know the greatest thing you will ever do,

can not only be annihilated,

but reduced to unexceptional,

grey ashes in a grey metal bin.






Nida Admani is a researcher from Sri Lanka, working in the field of law and human rights and writing poetry to make sense of it. Her poems have previously been published by Groundviews, Kopi Collective and Masterhouse.