black and white photo of a daisy
Ghazal I: Black-Eyed Susan 

An odd name for a bold wildflower: black-eyed Susan.
What mysteries will you reveal to me, black-eyed Susan?


Dipped in Aamras, your petals are a vibrant yellow.
Why do far off mangoes come to tongue, black-eyed Susan? 


Your eye may be black to the ignorant botanist, 
I find dogwood-brown in your florets, black-eyed Susan.


Your sunlit spectacle shines against St. Paul's red brick,
I fly to you like a bumblebee, black-eyed Susan.


How foolish to think I could just behold you in peace.
My Dasht-e-Tanhai punctured by a black-eyed, Susan.


“Excuse Me!”she shouts aggressively across the grass.
Christ can save his heart from remaining black, eyed Susan.


What she does not know, is that Aashiq is evergreen --
A relic buried in a field of black-eyed Susan.
Your Weeds Are My Garden

I stare at your weedless body
barren like impermeable concrete

imperial 
unnatural
spiritless 
 
even if a single weed
grows from your paved skin

mow
pluck
kill 
 
weeds grow endlessly
from my brown earthy clay

meadows
forests
gardens

the colonial gaze frowns at me

Zain Bandali is an
unapologetic poet that writes on themes related to Islamic mysticism, queerness, diasporas, and where they interact. He
is 22 years old and takes pride in being a Shia Ismaili Muslim of Indo-Tanzanian heritage living in Canada. Zain is the founder of QTPOC KW, a grassroots community group for racialized queer and trans students in Waterloo Region. He is an avid vegetable gardener but cannot always stomach the chilli peppers he grows.

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