Spotlight series #26 : Manahil Bandukwala

rob mclennan
Jun 4, 2018 · 2 min read

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.


These two poems are part of a process of looking at and revising old work, and taking the old poems apart to create work that fits with the direction I’m currently taking with my poetry in terms of form, voice and so on. It can be hard to edit poetry written last night, when I’m still so close to the piece. When I piece apart work from several months ago, I find myself happily tearing out entire stanzas that exist only as “fillers.”

Taking this process one step further, I’ve enjoyed taking pieces from different poems and putting them together, especially when poems share a similar “theme.” Music and sound was one of those themes that I felt particularly attached to when I wrote the first drafts of these poems (currently I’m attached to wildflowers and plants).



Melody echoes through gaps
between teeth. We sing lullabies
into each other’s mouths. An empire falls
at your lips. Flesh cuts up enamel
and nothing hurts. Pliable as soft wax
on candle that burns without a wick. Folded
between sheets. Dress crumbles off
at a touch. Plastic braces
slick against my tongue.


Snow drips on my tongue, ices
your shoulder blades. One day
your tongue drenched
in coffee swept over metal braces
tracked across my teeth. A first kiss
tastes of blood. Your foot twitches
at my voice. We lie in cat hair
under your bed until footsteps
leave. Now I lie alone, in blades
like glass, and I wait
for the voice
that doesn’t come.

Manahil Bandukwala is a poet and artist currently living in Ottawa. She is an editor for In/Words Magazine & Press, run out of Carleton University. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in The Puritan, Room Magazine, Ricepaper, ottawater,, In/Words and Coven Editions, among others. She’s currently completing her undergrad in English at Carleton University. Follow her on Instagram @bandukwali, or on Twitter @manaaaahil for photos of her art and news on her upcoming projects.