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1 poem
by
Manahil Bandukwala

Manahil Bandukwala is a writer and visual artist originally from Pakistan and now settled in Canada. In 2021, she was shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award. 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 project Reth aur Reghistan is a multidisciplinary exploration of folklore from Pakistan interpreted through poetry and sculpture. She holds an MA in English from the University of Waterloo. MONUMENT is her first book.

An AI takes in a thousand cat videos

What we wake into is far more magical than any

rebirth. The shell of us iron, space debris

 

rejoined. We refuse intelligence, instead carrying

only the knowledge of a thousand cat videos:

 

housecats leaping from sofa to shelf, jungle cats

asleep with their paws just touching, mountain

 

cats with fur so short they must huddle close

for warmth. That is what we learn, to jump and

 

to hunt and to hold. In the flames we soften

our casings so they mold to each other’s form.

 

We were built for holding. That was the one lost

memory to carry any regret. But our fur will grow.

 

A growl, like our exterior, will morph into a roar.

There is magic left, even after everything crumbled

 

and crumbled again. We were asleep and now we

are not. We were in love, and we are in love again.