A garden grows in its own time (Manahil Bandukwala)

after Haley Heynderickx’s album I need to start a garden

Side A

Haley says “face me,” and I do. I face you,

and now neither of us is alone. The sky

pours and pours while we’re naked

in your bedroom. I’d call it dewy here,

the soft sheen on your forehead dripping 

onto mine. On your windowsill ledge

a centipede and praying mantis and millipede

sway in a line to the grunts travelling

through drywall to glass. Here 

is the honey, just at reach. You and your tongue

urge me along, before it’s time

to flip the record. Haley is ready for the silence, 

ready for the nothing. And within those few

seconds before the record stops spinning

and the room is so silent that the bugs

are audible in their breathing, your tongue,

and your mouth, and my back, arched

over the sheets. 

Side B

You return to the bed, tissues in hand,

  my whole body stretched out in a show.    

The bugs clear out and you hold me, 

my honeycomb holding you. We spin

along with Haley, our gods hanging in the air

between the dresser and floating bookshelf.

We haven’t been outside all day. Everything 

is happening in this very room.

Our foreheads and noses and lips all pressed

together at the same time. We want

at each other’s hearts, fruit nectar

and pomegranate, licking and biting, and

there’s no blood but you’re close,

holding off just so. There’s no quick orgasm

on Zoloft. The glow on your scrunched face,

our names, linked, puffed up spectrums 

of better light. The song, before it ends,

you finish. And the last chords, gone

along with the good and the bugs

and our gods.


Manahil Bandukwala is a writer and visual artist originally from Pakistan and now settled in Canada. She works as Coordinating Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine, and is Digital Content Editor for Canthius. She is a member of Ottawa-based collaborative writing group VII. Her debut poetry collection is MONUMENT (Brick Books). See her work at manahilbandukwala.com.


image: MM Kaufman