As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Nakita Nokwanda – Poetry

A gathering

On rainy days I wake up only

to fall asleep on his bed.

“what’s wrong Nakita?”

“i think I have the flu.”

He gives me food and tells me to rest.

What I don’t tell him is that after

less than a quarter of a century

of being here, I feel as jaded as

Dambudzo might have felt when he

returned to his beloved Zimbabwe

Only to find that there was nothing

For him there besides a typewriter

and a park bench.


There is nothing for me here

except a book and feet that refuse

to touch the ground when they walk.

So I walk in whispers, every

bone in my body mimicking silence,

too afraid to wake the things that cannot

be put back to sleep.


My grandmother tells us a story

about how she built a one room

house for her children. Everything about

her is a wild river, fluid in movement

and solid in persistence.

I come from a long line of rivers,

So when my body begins to reject

water, I take it as a sign that I am

a generation too late to be a part of this.

“eat Nakita, then rest”

There is too much wind in his words,

too much of this thing I cannot hold.

I shrink into a fetal position.

This must be what being reborn looks

Like: crumpled paper in a foreign book.


I come from a long line of rivers.

My mother married my father after she

gave birth to me. Everything about me

feels like a sin, feels like an obsessed god

trying to draw a straight line on uneven ground.

What is it they say about the children of sin?

What is it they say about what it means

to be born on the wrong side of a rigid morality?

What is it they say about what it means to not belong?

“eat Nakita, then rest. It gets better.”

I come from a long line of push and pull,

push and pull until even the ugly and forgotten

ghosts are exposed.

This must be what it feels like to be air under water.


My country is a bonfire

My country is a rotten body sprawled across the street.

My country is a rotten body feeding flies.

My country is a rotten body wearing hate like a justification.

My country is the love we all needed but never knew how to give.

My country is the place where even the streets are not home.

There is too much sun here,

Too much hate,

Too much “your skin is too dark to be from anywhere but the place

Where even the moon is a bonfire”

My country is a lover that left to find gold.

My country is a mother whose children raise themselves

My country is a brother that broke himself playing man.

My country is the tears that wash my face.

My country is the song whose melody will always change before we learn it.

My country is the lily always screaming

“I dare you to love me.”


Nakita headshotNakita Nokwanda, aka Nakita Blue, aka Nakita Nokwanda Maseko is a brave girl in the making. Born in Mpumalanga (South Africa) in 1991, she is a lover of art in all its forms. She’s also a lover of reading. She has been published in Via Grapevine, Black Communion and As/Us.


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