he finds me, feels for my breath and whispers ‘Thanks for staying’
into the groove God made for only his fingers, to feel my pulse
and say ‘Oh thank God you’re still here. Are you trying to kill me?’
we drive home in silence, the dogs barking restlessly at the gate
as if knowing I almost did not make it back.
The sky had readied itself in a coat of grey.
The wind is howling and my lover is still sobbing.
I remember spending the fourth of July in Port Richmond,
Lying on a blanket watching the fireworks in wonder –
my host mother had asked if the fireworks would trigger me,
if there were wars back home that sounded just like this
and I said ‘I came here to forget what home sounds like’
my lover makes Milo with lots of sugar and swaddles me
in a pink blanket I find more comforting than his arms.
he says, ‘Don’t ever do that to me again, you hear?’
I nod, placing my head in his lap.
he knows I will try again. For a moment there is respite but he knows.
This world is too noisy and tomorrow it will start its engines again.
Nkateko Masinga is a writer from Pretoria, South Africa. Her work is published in U.S journal ‘Illuminations’, the University of Edinburgh’s ‘Dangerous Women Project’ and is forthcoming in UK pamphlet press ‘Pyramid Editions.’