He wanted someone to live with:
an accomplice, a co-conspirator.
I was there, too single and sinful
to resist. What was one more, to
my litany of trespasses? Surely
I could add to my tally, then tell
the tale posthumously if need be?
Surely I could slow-dance in hell
if the music distracted me from
the sizzling of my wings? Surely
I could weigh my transgression
on the scale of my conscience,
then offer myself an acquittal?
Surely he can do the same now,
find a sliver of his severed soul
and offer it to a worm, chrysalis
pending? An enantiomer of mine
with no priors, only a penchant for
all that is beautiful and tortured.
If I am sentenced too, then let it be
only by fate’s sleight of hand;
I did only what love asked of me,
a firefly on the witness stand.
Nkateko Masinga is an award-winning South African writer whose poetry has been translated into French, Bengali and Tamil. Her next poetry book, ‘Daughter Wound’, will be published by Hazel Press in 2024.