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Cardstock and wrapping paper

by Manahil Bandukwala

Cardstock and wrapping paper

She is red paper,

a leftover

Valentine. I create her

with my hands. Cut out

her disproportionate head. Strips of dress

hide a clumsy figure, but circular hands

stay out on display. She cannot

hold scissors

like I can, deny her


mobility. I cut her leg off,

then reattach it for –


accuracy. She lacks a face,

a smile, a pair

of twinkling eyes. Braid

swings down to her waist, an artificial

lengthening. I find pride


in the grace she moves with

despite it all. My own

clumsy hands


cannot snip out fingers

or toes or sharp

jawlines. Instead I set her face

round, so unlike


the desi models

in anarkali suits. I choose

the brownest brown

paper for her skin. Look –

how lovely


against a bridal red. She is

fragile strength, durable

in my feathery

touch, crumples under

the pelting rain.


Manahil Bandukwala

Manahil Bandukwala is a poet and artist. Her chapbook, “Pipe Rose,” came out with battleaxe press in 2018. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Puritan, Room Magazine,, Coven Editions, Soliloquies Anthology, and others. She is on the editorial teams of In/Words and Canthius. See more of her work at

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