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.
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
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,
we lived with curses that defied intercession
feared the neighbour’s herbs so we prayed harder
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 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:
Facebook: Enkay Masinga