Poetry by Manahil Bandukwala
Visual art by Nimra Bandukwala

Jinn Stories

mama always said be back before maghrib
before the sun sets in the west
not so I’d be home before namaaz
but because they wander empty streets
look for little girls like me
stay inside until the sun rises in the east
again and

stand under trees and they will come
crawl into your body
take root in the warmth of your belly
and turn it to ice
leaves rustle and dogs bark
they are near
this was not a ploy
keeping me from running
onto the street in the darkness
ahead and

tie up your hair because
who loves flowing locks
not the boy across the street
who waves at you from his window
mama didn’t say not to wear perfume
because she saw him leave a letter
she didn’t burn it on the
agarbatti and

the quran says there is no jinn
prouder than shaitan
if only he were a wish-granting genie
I would wish him away
but instead he is
my recurring nightmare
speak his name once and he shall
appear and –

This home will keep you safe

I come from a sky where blue persists
despite smoke that swallows it up
it does not stop singing
even when words come out in croaks
we keep our eyes glued to concrete floors
if you dare lift your head, you’ll see
sky wave through grey clouds

I come from seas that continue to roar
among motorbikes and gunshots
that threaten to drown it out
but it remembers that water can flood cities
and bring skyscrapers crumbling down into rubble
but will tuck you into its shoreline

I come from land that is much stronger than I will ever be,
holds us up until it quivers under the weight
of an ever growing city
but even when it shakes,
and we flee in fear
it pulls ones who stayed into a tight embrace
whispering comforts until all settles again

MANAHIL BANDUKWALA is a Pakistani artist and writer currently residing in Ottawa, completing her undergrad in English at Carleton University. Her poetry has appeared in In/Words Magazine, Bywords, The Ottawa Arts Review, The Steel Chisel, Octavius Magazine, battleaxe press and the shreeking violet press. Her artwork is forthcoming in Existere: A Journal of Arts and Literature. She is currently an editor for In/Words Magazine.

NIMRA BANDUKWALA's work can be found on Instagram and Facebook.