We emerged victorious in a burning city of chaos,
Blood in our hands,
Bullets in our bodies,
Burning desire in our eyes;
Like a fiery tree twirling with its spaghetti branches.
We had been choked by monstrous hands,
Our eyes plucked by shiny rifle knives,
Our tongues stomped by black boots,
Our legs blown off by landmines,
Our bones powdered by the cleavers of war.
Like a deer, hope had faded away—
As though it had spotted a poacher aiming his gun at it.
As though it had turned its back on us.
And the sky fell down on us with all its shades—
Sapphire, gunmetal, blue, fiery.
We saw it fall and fall;
Angels and heavenly birds trying hard to hold it back.
Our city was a ghost town-
An unattended and ever-growing graveyard,
A place thick with souls of the dead
Circling the sky alongside vultures.
We sent our love and prayer their way as they formed wheels, eyes, and boats in the sky.
Still, like hopeless romantics, we sang songs of revolution,
wrote poetry of defiance,
waved flags wet with our blood,
danced to the rhythm of handmade grenades,
mocked the hostile air around us,
flashed our teeth at those who tried snatching our words from us,
and sent bullets to colonize their bodies.
In a burning city of chaos, we did emerge victorious.
As though, from the rotten bones and skulls littering the streets, we had been reborn —
Unexpectedly and defiantly.
Like a sunflower, raising its head towards the sky from a concrete wall.
Like a piano in a carnival of rubble.
Like a lone star in a cloudy night sky.
Shah Tazrian Ashrafi is an occasional contributor to the Star Literature and Reviews Pages.