Vinita Agrawal

Cinnamon And Syria

The farmers first shave the outer bark off the trees
The enemies first kill the men of the country

and then shave off the inner bark
and then wipe out the women and children in a bloody narrative

When Cinnamon is dried, it naturally curls up into “quills.”
When a child dies, it naturally curls up into a Cassia of horror

Those quills are then cut into sticks or crushed into a spice powder.
The prewar population is then displaced, brutally tortured

The cinnamon is dried for use
Damascus is dried to ashes…Euphrates dried to a stony bed

People incorrectly conclude that Ceylon cinnamon is real cinnamon
People incorrectly conclude that real Sarin (C4H10FO2P ) won’t be used in Syria

It’s not. All cinnamon is real cinnamon
It is. All chemical weapons are Redlines now slashing the holy Tigris

80-90 percent of cinnamon comes from Indonesia
80-90 percent of ruins are in Alleppo

Cinnamon can be used as a room freshener and a moth repellant
Cruise Missiles can be used as gut slicers and Mosul marauders

Cinnamon can be used both as a spice and a medicine
War can be used both as an end of humanitarianism and a beginning of hatred

Whatever you do with cinnamon, just please don’t try the cinnamon challenge
Whatever happens in war, just please don’t think that people have a choice

Cinnamon, beloved spice
Syria, beloved land.


Writers Without Borders

Rain waters listen to secret flowers beneath the soil
The night settles to darken the bottoms of trees
My ink flows, mingles without geography.

Every tear fills the jar of the waiting moon
And despite the hell-towers all around
Writers resurrect the doors of broken thoughts.

Every star branch trickles with blood’s bitterness
War reigns across borders, land fights land
Religion versus religion. Everywhere, a divided stand.

Yet, my fellow pen, fellow nib, fellow hand
Though the needle of pain pierces your darkened veins
Write! So that man may understand man.

Write sans borders, fences, frontiers
Make thick the river of sentiments
Call swiftly for peace, for love.

History doesn’t change that fast
Time doesn’t bend easily
Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Still, the votives of clattering flowers
Fall gentler on the chest of pebbles
The sun comes out again…because of words of dissent.

Tremors of joy run through your fingers
As darkness builds a dawn
Write on!

For countries war torn,
Let darkness build a dawn
Wherever you are…Write on.


It is war time
(When is it not?)

But today is unforgiving
The bombs strike hard
Tear down barriers of mothers
and burst little children like balloons.

Blood splatters inside their tiny teeth canals
ears, corneas.
Blood splatters on my doorway
when I bend to pick up the newspaper.
My day darkens before it has begun.
Mornings are not mornings when children die in war.

The earth doesn’t want graves measuring 2×3
It doesn’t have enough rain to wash away the blood
Children don’t want territory
Mothers don’t want to collect severed limbs of offsprings.

Over the tops of conifers
where mists cling silkily to needle pines
where the scent of infinite peace lovingly darkens tall barks
where soil offers flowers and emerald grass

I gaze at the news reports and wonder
Who is it
That wants war.