Stick­ing with your roots, my mom al­ways says, but I was de­tached, then grafted. I lean to one side. I bend a lit­tle at the branches. I am the out­growth of so many seeds thrown to­gether who made this root­less tree. Each flower, a dif­fer­ent color:

One red, like the color of the sky the cold night Kur­dis­tan was left empty af­ter The Run­away, empty like the streets my mother left be­hind, noth­ing left but the rain flood­ing them.

An­other blue, like my father’s house in Sa­marra where we spent our Eid play­ing hide-and-seek with cousins on the roof.

One had beau­ti­ful yel­low petals that shifted to brown when you looked in­side, like my sen­tences as a child, made up of two lan­guages.

One white, and blank like my face when asked what my ori­gin is, and I wouldn’t an­swer, afraid of a wrong an­swer.

Some looked like the gar­de­nias we had in Bagh­dad, their scent dif­fused all through our gar­den, vo­lu­mi­nous petals you couldn’t look away from.

The flow­ers were of­ten picked, they were too beau­ti­ful to pass by and not share with a lover. The tree re­mained bare and fruit­less. The last flower was kept trapped in a book that was never read.


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