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“Heat” and “Prayers after Pantheon” | Nkateko Masinga

“Heat” and “Prayers after Pantheon” | Nkateko Masinga

Nkateko Masinga Heat Prayers after Pantheon Agbowo Art African Art Literary Art



you spoke to me in the language of divinity:

your words, a prophecy.

your touch, a laying on of hands –

a prelude to healing,

soothing balm for my spirit.


your voice was church bells;

a call to worship,

my soul’s song amplified.

i danced.


the elders said,

the fact that bodies are temples,

is not a reason to worship there.

so i dismantled the altar at your feet

for fear of hell and fiery heat.



prayers after pantheon


nobody told us knuckles were a train track for prayer

beads until we lost everything

and onlookers said ‘pray harder’


the church folk said

job is a man who lost everything

and was given more

but listen

the word/name job triggers me

because i broke my skull in pursuit of one

so please stop right there



we went to church to purge ourselves,

to atone

we lived with curses that defied intercession

feared the neighbour’s herbs so we prayed harder

for ourselves

never for them

never for them


i missed my stop on the way to the cross

only realised where i was

when a voiceover said

‘will all passengers please leave the train…’

maybe it’s too high up on the hill

maybe i keep missing it

i want something to lift me so i can see




now i’m on a train back to where the air looms with loss

our heirlooms are broken mirrors:

we see ourselves as cursed before we know what sin is

it took a change in season to make me see that saying

goodbye to winter meant

losing the comfort of the fire



Nkateko Masinga Agbowo art heat prayers after pantheon

Nkateko Masinga is a medical student, poet and writer who lives in the east of Pretoria, South Africa. Nkateko is the author of three poetry collections: ‘The Sin In My Blackness’ (2015). ‘A War Within The Blood’ (2016), ‘While The World Was Burning’ (2017). Her poems are published in the 2017 edition of U.S journal ‘Illuminations’ and are forthcoming in UK pamphlet press ‘Pyramid Editions’ in 2018. In 2015, her work was shortlisted for the ‘Respond’ Human Rights Poetry Award 2015/2016, organized by the United Human Rights Student Network (UHRSN).

Social media handles:

Instagram: @nkateko_masinga

Twitter: @Nkati_M

Facebook: Enkay Masinga



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