love’s immortal

A Poem

By Nkateko Masinga

I

the day they set the clocks back
to standard time,
i draw the curtains and whisper
“i’m losing you”
as you take a photograph and say
“you’ll love this one”

loss must be immortalized

please take another picture

we examine the camera roll
and imagine captions

exhibit a:
i wear forever 21
with midlife lethargy

exhibit b:
i cry at weddings and birthday parties
and charge by the hour

we collapse into laughter

then tears

every tragedy has a soundtrack
and a director
even the uber driver
has a cameo role
and a fake name
in this film

you call me beautiful and add
“a curator will not have to think hard
to caption this”

we argue

you leave

why mourn what was never ours?

not even our mothers can claim us anymore,
we have grown new limbs
to escape old loves

i shove a towel into my mouth
and scream

at you, for you

i will miss you,
but only if
you stay gone

II

the day they set the clocks
to daylight saving time again
i open the door and say
“welcome home”
as you lean in for a photograph and say
“the lighting here is terrible”

we do not examine the camera roll
this time
no picture can do justice to
the eye’s witnessing

every reunion has a soundtrack
and a director

even the uber driver
has a supporting role
and perhaps,
a scrawled invite
to our wedding

exhibit a:
i wear forever 21
with a lover’s glow

exhibit b:
i cry at our wedding

we collapse into laughter

then tears

we examine the roll
of memory’s dice

we do not need captions

for this new picture

our imperfect portrait
which hangs on no wall
and yet, when all fades
will remain, silently

immortalized