I am a yellow rose lovingly cared for by an old man

Who planted me in his garden

I am in full bloom now but he doesn’t come to admire me.

I can see part of him from here

His hand is sticking out from the pile of rubble

That was once his house.

No one has come to his rescue yet

His son has been missing since eternity

His daughter had died before him

And his wife has been trapped in her hysteria

Ever since the bombs started dropping

And the blood started flowing.

All around is the sound of gunfire and screaming

There are dead faces and faces drowning in tears

Everything is painted red with blood.

Wars and flowers have often been seen together

Flowers have bloomed on the sharp edges of barbed wires

And rested on the graves of dead soldiers

But nobody knows the truth about these flowers

Nobody knows how the greyness around them

Invades their bright colors and makes them wish

That they could wither away.

Maliha Iqbal is a student and writer based in Aligarh, India. Many of her short stories, write-ups, letters and poems have been published on platforms Live Wire (The Wire), Creativity Webzine, Cerebration, Histolit, Countercurrents, Times of India, The Palestine Chronicle, Freedom Review, ArmChair Journal, Counterview, Good Morning Kashmir, Writers’ Cafeteria, Café Dissensus, Borderless Journal, The Cadre Journal and Indian Periodical. She can be reached at malihaiqbal327@gmail.com.

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