I Thought It Was a Dream But When I Woke, I Couldn’t Walk

(Editor’s note: This poem was inspired by a girl our writer recently met while visiting her grandfather in the hospital.)

I asked my mom is it possible
That my legs and my hands
will grow again?
No one
No one
No one answered me.
Everyone, including the doctor, was silent.
All were looking down
As if they were stealing from me,
As if they were criminals
guilty of doing something bad to me.

Silence took up all the space.
It seemed that the walls, the ceiling,
The trees outside of my room were crying.
The lamp in my room darkened
Its shadow became full of grief and sadness
as I saw my situation
losing its ray of hope.

It was 8:00 that morning.
I was preparing myself for school.
A quick look in the mirror—
Do my sports clothes fit me or not?
Tomorrow is our school’s soccer match with another school.
I checked my American watch,
How it looked on my wrist.
My school’s principal gave it to me for being a good team leader
after we won last year’s game
I wore my shoes that matched.
On the way to school
I looked at the watch on my wrist, played with a ball.
My shoes touched the ball.

Suddenly the blast took all my happiness
And its grimy smoke brought
darkness into my life.
When I opened my eyes
everything seemed in disarray.
I checked my American watch.
I found my hand full of blood.
Then I thought to check my sports shoes
Which I bought for the soccer games
But I found my leg cut.
Touching my legs,
I saw half of my knee was gone.
I shook my legs, they moved.
But on other side of the street
I saw a leg with my sports shoe on it.
I asked myself—is it mine?
No, it is not mine.
Mine is okay.
I touched my eyes.
I thought I was dreaming.
I tried to stand and walk
But I couldn’t.
Then I knew
That my eyes were okay.
It was both my legs that were gone.

I tried to hold onto something
And pull myself up
But I saw my fingers and half my hands were gone.
I screamed
Then I don’t know what happened—
I found myself in the hospital.

I asked myself, could I dream
That I was a tree
That had lost its branches
And could grow them again?
But no one
gave me back my legs, my hands, my fingers.
Now I can’t wear watches,
I can’t be team leader.
I never
Would apologize to such criminal people.
Now when I see balls and sports shoes and clocks
They remind me that bloody blast,
They remind me that someone took my happiness,
They remind me that I will not be a team leader,
They tell me I am a disabled person.
After that day, that’s what everyone calls me.
After that beside my name, they put the disabled name too.
I never
Will accept the apology of such brutal people,
Those who left me with the disabled label.

By Freshta

photo: Reuters/Jerry Lampen


  1. [Note: this comment from Sana has been copied over from the old blog.]

    Dear Freshta jan,

    I now it, its very difecult for a persoan to had disable. I am also a Disable, but i keep my study and sports:) and you can make your body so strong:) I know you are so strong girl. Education is your life. keep it freshta jan.

  2. Anne Meczywor says:

    If you allow yourself to believe it, you WILL be a disabled person. On the other hand, if you believe that you have great worth to offer the world with your mind and spirit, you will be a person with a disability. There is a difference.

  3. I am so sad for you. this is fate — how else explain? fate and war and aggression all play out against the innocent, and who knows one of us may be next. be strong! have hope! There is love in the world for you. I send you love with all my heart.

  4. Lu vickers says:

    What a touching poem Freshta. I like how you use the American watch here.

  5. In your poem you show your anger, your fear, your sadness and all these feelings are normal to feel, Freshta, but you also show how a strong person you are, how brave and courageous. Do not let them take away your heart. That’s your victory! Anyone, not a fighter, not a man, not a bomb can take your beautiful soul away. Send you all my love and admiration.

  6. Great poetic writing and such touching content.

  7. Nancy Antle says:

    This is a beautiful poem, Freshta, about a horrific event. You have given a voice to this young girl and others like her. I love the imagery you use and the repetition of lines and words. This is powerful writing.

  8. Hey Freshta Jan,

    Its a pleasure to know that we have such woman’s on this group that give us all a hope to life in what ever condition we are…what we need is only our inner strength that would give us the support to live…

    Life doesn’t depend on living but it depends on how we will live it…don’t be heart broken and self centered we have hands and legs but from one point we all have a point of disability no one is perfect and i give you the courage to reach here among the other disables.

    With love

  9. Dear Freshta,

    I am so so sorry. The world is upside down. It is never okay for innocent people to be the targets in wars that they have nothing to do with. I hope that we women can find a way to stop the senseless violence.

    Sending love …

  10. Hello from the women of the IWWG. You are in our thoughts tonight as we learn more about the Afghan Womens Writing Project. We admire your bravery and your words.

    Best wishes from another woman writer, from New York. Your words are strong and inspiring. Continue with faith in yourself!

    It is so wonderful to hear your words. We look forward to continuing them. Love, Live!

    Hi it’s me Ila from Norway! Remember me? Wish you could be here. hope you are well. Lots of love.

  11. Melissa Wong says:

    This poem, “I Thought It Was a Dream But When I Woke, I Couldn’t Walk,” has touched me and has given me great sympathy for you. I cannot even fathom the thought of losing my legs, especially because I am an athlete like you were. The imagery in the poem allows you to portray such a tragic situation in your head. It must have been confusing looking across from you and seeing someone’s feet with the same shoes as you. It must have been devastating once you realised that the feet not attached to your body, were yours. Your poem has revealed to me the crimes that happen in your country. It also shows how fast things can happen because one minute you were walking to school, kicking a ball, and then an explosion happened. However, the fact that you are still living and going on, means that you are very much more than just ‘disabled.’ This is just a label that people place on you because you have no legs and cannot walk, but it depends on how you perceive life that determines who you really are.


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