Short story from Faleeha Hassan

Young Central Asian woman with a green headscarf and a dark colored blouse and brown hair and eyes.
Faleeha Hassan

 Before My Friend Got Killed

The sky actually was blue
The streets were more spacious
Women were sitting on the thresholds of their houses in the afternoon
Telling amazing stories to each other
The cafes were full of men’s laughter
My father smiles as he tells her:
Don’t take Faleeha to the hair salon
Give your hair the color of the sun
And leave the glamour of night to my daughter’s hair
She smiles back and says  
Her name is not poetic
If it were me, I would change it
We all laugh
My mother was more compassionate
She would say 
Eat from one plate so your emotions will not be lost
And like ants on a candy bar, we would gather together
Oh, my friend
After your death
The world wore a garment of dust
The war had swept away the thresholds of our homes
Women now wear worries
Permanent sadness
Cafes are bustling with the songs of false victory
Men’s voices are hoarse from smoke
And from drinking scorching defeats
Oh, my friend
Your death spread the snow colour on my hair
If you had stayed a little bit longer
You would have seen how my name was won
 But death betrayed you
As it did my mother
And my father as well
All their advice fell on stone ears
Our lives filled up with wars, poverty, and exile
When I shout
Oh father ,
There is no echo coming back
And regret bites my heart
Oh, my friend
Can you stop your Specter from dancing in my memory
Give me ten minutes to sleep
The smoke from the plane that killed you
Suffocates my days
(Dedicated to my friend Mason Hassan Kamuna which she was killed during the Iraq-Iran war)
 She is a poet, teacher, editor, writer, and playwright born in Najaf, Iraq, in 1967, who now
lives in the United States. Faleeha was the first woman to write poetry for children in Iraq.
She received her master's degree in Arabic literature, and has now published 26 books, her
poems have been translated into English, Turkmen, Bosnian, Indian, French, Italian, German,
Kurdish, Spain, Korean, Greek, Serbia, Albanian, Pakistani, Romanian, Malayalam, Chinese,
ODIA, Nepali and Macedonian language. She is the Pulitzer Prize Nomination 2018,
PushCaret Prize Nomination 2019.
Member of International Writers and Artists Association.
Winner of the Women of Excellence Inspiration award from SJ magazine 2020,
Winner of the Grand Jury Award (the Sahitto International Award for Literature 2021)
One of the Women of Excellence selection committees 2023
Winner of women the arts award 2023
Member of Whos’ Who in America 2023
Cultural Ambassador - Iraq, USA
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