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Nkateko Masinga: a poem

Deranging Flowers

Your fingers are like butterflies.

Upon seeing your bouquet, the teacher says

"It is rare for a man to be this delicate",

as if the class is a barometer for softness.

You name today's creation "Serendipity"

and we walk home holding a glass bowl

with dahlias, hydrangeas, button poms, roses,

ruscus, silver dollar eucalyptus and more roses.

You are talented. I know this. The florist-teacher

knows it too. But why is this new; why is it news?

The lion, with its mane, is roaring

and the peacock dances, bright & beautiful.

I see you make and then unmake

each week; break, tie and rearrange

in the pursuit of something beautiful

and I want to give you new eyes, mine

perhaps, so you can stop and see me

wilt before you. I, your loyal lioness,

peafowl, moth to your butterfly. I have wings too.

Perhaps someday I will fly away from you.

Nkateko Masinga is a South African poet. She is the author of a digital chapbook titled the heart is a caged animal, published by Praxis Magazine. Her latest chapbook, psalm for chrysanthemums, has been selected by the African Poetry Book Fund and Akashic Books to be published in the 2020 New Generation African Poets box set. She can be found at


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