starlight and time
is all I ask for as your van drives out
of our compound, leaving nothing
except dry winter dust in your wake.
you asked me what I needed, twice,
as if it mattered to you. ‘tell me what
to do to make this transition easier’,
you said. starlight and time, I replied.
long winter nights gazing at the sky,
remembering the magic of being alive
while cursing the time my heart spent
loading its parts onto a runaway train.
give me starlight and time, a healing
balm of sorts. starlight’s kind gleam,
a spark when the darkness is cruel.
time, a remedy familiar to all hearts
like mine, demolished by deception.
beyond the sky, quiescence exists &
this pain is light years away from me,
too far to sting. allow me to rest here
with nothing from you.
only starlight and time.
Nkateko Masinga is an award-winning South African writer and scholar. She is a 2019 Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency, a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow and a Golden Key Scholar. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018 and her work has received support from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and the Swiss Arts Council. In 2019, she co-won the Brittle Paper Anniversary Award. Nkateko is the director of the Internship Program at Africa In Dialogue, as well as the founder and managing director of NSUKU Publishing Consultancy. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s 2021 International Writing Program (IWP). In 2022 she was selected by News24 as one of South Africa’s 30 Young Mandelas of the Future.