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Nkateko Masinga: a poem


no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”

Warsan Shire ("Home")

The shame you bear is exile.

Even the borders bare their teeth

at you. With anxious feet, you straddle

the boarding gate while "homeland"

security assure you of your safety.

Nine lives remain to be spent

on milk & honey & something strong

for all the aches that take the place

of what you cannot see.

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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