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Nkateko Masinga: a poem

Jilted Belle

after Nina Simone

you've given me no choice / but to join a coven for the complimentary book of spells / show up unwanted at your house for Christmas lunch / chanting in Xitsonga and Yoruba instead of singing carols / it's no holiday without the "dear beloveds" speeches / you're the closest I have ever come to understanding bondage / I mean love / I mean family / I wish I knew what my mother meant when she said she was coming back / 'cause she did what you did / pulled a Houdini without the smoke & mirrors so nobody knows there was a blaze at house 143 except the ones who were burned / I will undress & say "Baby there was a fire here" as I shiver / before your face contorts at the sight of what you did / tell me / what does it mean to be dead in one state / but alive in another / are there different rules / different vital signs / how am I still on earth but nonexistent to you? / let me be your Christmas miracle / a reincarnation / I am coming back to you / and I don't care if you don't want me / I am yours / I put a spell on you / because you're mine / close your eyes / say a prayer / Merry Christmas.

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, was 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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