Lying on the blood-soaked ground,
rasping breaths surrounded her.
Her own echoed as she shut her eyes,
marking her alive among the dead piling high.

The war drums still sounded in her head,
the horror of her sword cutting off their heads,
skin roiling from the sticky feel of their sweat,
prayers for her heart on lips, limbs like lead.

Exhaustion limning every caress of her face,
she willed herself to sleep, but even when it came,
her mind in the darkness was under restless torment,
changing her dreams to waking nightmares.

Reminding that war was upon them,
and daylight wouldn’t drive the demons away.

– Anjali Bansal, Delhi Public School, Noida

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