Category: CCAS Newsmagazine, News

Title: Astute War

Author: By Shano Mohammed
Date Published: August 15, 2023
Arise from Flames Woodcut by Art Hazelwood Courtesy of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project


Astute War

By Shano Mohammed

Yesterday my town fell ill
at dead of a sunless dawn
from its eyes, a fire blazed
dazzlingly everyone rode
From a Phoenix bird
to ants’ swarms.
At the feet of astute war,
brought to their knees,
until they grew frail,
mothers in faint voices wept
from what they have bled,
for what they have borne.
on sidewalks and under tents,
children were born
others were abandoned
little girls were placed,
Under barren trees and on hills,
for fate to step in.
grandmothers went underworld
not even a slight handwave
for a goodbye to hold on
Solemn kisses were left
On forehead of youth years
Spring dreams by tombstones at rest
one prayer mat
centered muezzin and saint
Whose minaret died
For the sake of marine corps
I asked my mother
who are the new arrivals?
shouldn’t we serve visitors tea?
what differs them from the usual?
little did I know!
our tea and land fell in their hands
and we no longer owned our house
little did I know
she was making Sophie’s choice
to remain and have faith
or flee and save us both!
At frontline rebel forces formed
Fathers bravely relented
Wrestling foreign forces alone
there was not much of a choice
food, schoolbooks, legal papers
In Nana’s colorful hand-sewed suitcase
from cradle to coffin
one purpose and only one
From remnants in unified rage
to rise above mines and guns
one step after another
fleeing death on feet
until the sky appears overhead
towards foreign fields able to bear
Wounded identities and weeping hearts
beyond the borders of the homeland
where our humanity was crossed out


Shano Mohammed is a rising second-year student in the MAAS program.

This poem was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2023 CCAS Newsmagazine.