I wait in an airport line with Dionne Brand

by Manahil Bandukwala

Manahil Bandukwala is an Ottawa-based writer, editor, and visual artist. She is the author of two chapbooks, Paper Doll (2019) and Pipe Rose (2018). She is on the editorial team of Canthius, a feminist literary magazine, and is Coordinating Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. She was long-listed for the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, and was the 2019 winner of Room Magazine’s Emerging Writer Award. Follow her multidisciplinary folklore project, Reth Aur Reghistan, on sculpturalstorytelling.com.

“let’s say it, fascism,
how else to say, border,
and the militant consumption of everything”
Inventory, Dionne Brand

Let’s say it, borders are just lines that
even children don’t heed, scribble away
outside them. If we scaled

a mountain together would we find
lines zigzagging through? At the sea-shelf
that drops down, down
into a border, let’s stand

straddling a tree, a forest’s borderline. Live out
life in a train station or airport, a borderland
manifested in concrete,
metal, & why do you want
 
to cross from one cluster of nitrogen to another,
why trade one leaf for an identical
one, to taste the water
on the other side. Give an answer

someone else has already given. Someone else
from somewhere else with different skin
has shed strands of black hair
on the same counter to the same person,

maybe, who will maybe let you past
what is not a solid line. Give them an answer
that does not match the one
you want to say. To say, some drunken man

drew a line on paper & now we have to beg
our way back home. Find a remnant
of colonial rule that is kind, this
is my challenge to you. I suppose

you could say a language becomes poetry
when it is all you know, poetry as a warm
blanket in December, poetry as metaphor
for betrayal thick as forgotten burial grounds.

 


Manahil Bandukwala is an Ottawa-based writer, editor, and visual artist. She is the author of two chapbooks, Paper Doll (2019) and Pipe Rose (2018). She is on the editorial team of Canthius, a feminist literary magazine, and is Coordinating Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. She was long-listed for the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, and was the 2019 winner of Room Magazine’s Emerging Writer Award. Follow her multidisciplinary folklore project, Reth Aur Reghistan, on sculpturalstorytelling.com.

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