Art work, by Dr Osman Ahmed

Sweet Apple

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First, we heard the noise

Renas Babakir

then stared at them from far away.

They resembled our colourful birds,

except, they were death-bringing planes.

The smell of sweet apples1, like the ones in our garden, reigned over.

The scent was joyful,

until it burned.

His skin was screaming,

he wanted to rip it off as he always had his shirt

he forgot it was his body resisting the pain.

In a corner, in front of a rustic grey door,

a father embraced his new-born twin, couldn’t let go,

and they became one.

A child on her back,

pulling out her hair.

She grabbed a chunk, she froze.

Eyes wide open, mouth just half

she breathed in her last sweet apple.

A mother in black, darker than your darkest dreams

sat on a muddy rooftop, longing for their return.

She has beaten solitude,

but she never again grew apples in her garden.



1 In 1988, the Ba’ath regime in Iraq used poison gas attacks on Kurds, and killed an

estimated 5000 people in minutes; the gas smelled like apples, which has remained in the

memories of the survivors