An Ode to the Children of Palestine

Despite the massive destruction that has reached 17,000 homes and much of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, Palestinians in Gaza took advantage of the ceasefire to celebrate the Eid holiday.(Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Maliha Iqbal

I can see you standing
Surrounded by the rubble of the house where you once lived
Still holding on to your colorful teddy bear.

What does it feel like
When you get your own room finally and you decorate the walls
With stickers and your favorite colors, knowing
That the walls may collapse on you in your sleep
Because of a stray missile.

Are you used to seeing your parents sobbing in front of you?
Do you wake up in the middle of the night,
Frightened by the sound of gunfire?

Or do you continue sleeping because they are just
Routine sounds in the background for you.

Would calm, silent nights unsettle you?
Has there ever been a time when you did not have nightmares?

Do you feel happy when your school declares holiday every other day?

I wonder how many funerals you have attended.

I see you standing
Surrounded by death and destruction
The dark world around is closing in
Barbed wires are creeping up on you

The West Bank wall is casting its long shadow over you,
But you are still holding on to your colorful teddy bear.

– Maliha Iqbal is a student and writer from Aligarh, India. She can be reached at She contributed this poem to The Palestine Chronicle

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