You would make me choose
to press autumn hues
between pages of The Invisible
Man, or to jump in piles of reds
and yellows but never
to turn two leaves over
for a vibrant red.
Maple glued in journal,
date lips first touched
pencilled in. I send
you spirits, Pacific water
mixed with vodka.
Bottle of Grey Goose,
you lick the rim.
Drunk off two drops of liquor. Stumble to
canal. Scream down skateway. Your hands
blue & eyes blue & tongue blue
but I don’t hear. Downtown, pigeons
roost, you ask: why fly north at all?
hell is snow hell is white hell is so cold you
feel hot hell will bury you deep in forest
clearings where no one ventures, and you will never
be a vibrant red between pages of my journal.
Manahil Bandukwala is a Pakistani born-and-raised artist and writer currently living and studying in Ottawa. Her work has appeared in In/Words, Bywords, re:asian, ottawater, Existere and where is the river, and is forthcoming in Room Magazine and the Puritan. She is currently an editor for In/Words Magazine & Press and curates the monthly reading series. You can find her work online at manahils.com, or on Instagram @manahil_art.