South African poet Nkateko Masinga previews a new poem from her collection Daughter Wound, due to be published by Hazel Press in April 2024. The collection explores a young woman’s negotiation of intimate relationships: sexual, familial and political.
The cover design features ‘Kin’, a painting by artist Anna Ilsley, which was commissioned for this collection. Ilsley’s work challenges the construct of the male gaze and offers a feminist disruption of patriarchal images.
Heritage I am rewriting my mother’s story on my face See the quotation marks holding my smile together? Even my laughter is hers, not mine Be careful how you say your own mother’s name how you articulate your blood You and your mother were once one person a question mark in each ear born to listen to her Everything about you says I am telling someone else’s story I am still not sure about mine Make sure you are reading the history book being written in your childhood home Collecting recipes too because age is engraving farewell messages into Mama’s skin and how will you sustain yourself when she is gone? The words on her earlier pages are disappearing as you read them Your mother is forgetting herself One day she will not be there when you turn back to a part of her story you enjoyed, hoping she will read it again hoping to hear her laughter echo across the room as she throws her head back One day she will not be here to speak so you will repeat her words to your children just to hear her voice in yours
Nkateko Masinga is an award-winning writer and scholar. A graduate of the University of Iowa’s 2021 International Writing Program, she was a 2019 Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency, a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow and a Golden Key Scholar. In 2018 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can read more on Nkateko’s website here.
Poem ‘Heritage’ copyright © Nkateko Masinga 2023.
Cover image ‘Kin’ copyright © Anna Ilsley 2023.