about the author

Nkosi Nkululeko, the 2016 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, is a Callaloo Fellow. He has been nominated for the American Voices Award, Independent Best American Poetry, and Pushcart Prize. His work is currently published in No Token, Rose Red Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. He lives in Harlem, New York. You can reach Nkosi at musicmannkosi@gmail.com.


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A Game of Jacks 

Nkosi Nkululeko



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& here is a game where speed wins it all.
Your hand bobs & weaves like a sparrow
avoiding collision with some wrecking ball
above a crew of jacks. Wings won’t help here.
In this game, it’s less about one’s ascension,
more on the prevention of one’s descent.
Ex: when a man, hung behind a curtain of leaves,
falls, the impact determines how he shall be buried.
It’s all a gamble, the way we arrive, the way we depart.
In some cases, the earth is already dug for the body
when it scuffs the surface. In this game, the ball
cannot know the history the ground brings.
Catch it before it hits.





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