I almost inherited the rain when it came
Childhood is brief. It is
making me grow smaller
and smaller. I see the two of us
in photographs. Posing,
Laughing our heads off.
Our childhood was brief
but it was brilliant. I showered
your face with kisses.
The backyard was the wilderness filled with tigers
and snakes. Wild tigers,
and poisonous snakes that we had to catch.
Pretend to kill. You’re
always giving me a speech
now. Lecturing me on my
potential. I always say I love you
at the end of our conversations
Through the whirring
loophole of the telephone.
Dear friend and lover, I miss you
You slipped or fell all beautiful and
original folds of you
through my fingers in
the city I fled from
as a girl. Johannesburg.
I write about Johannesburg’s
people from memory.
That love song and mad dance
of pollution, climate
change, global warming.
I don’t want you in my head
anymore. Clearly you’ve
moved on. You’re married.
Your wife’s expecting.
Your life is perfect. I still think about you.
I still write about you.
Love poems to myself.
Excuse me, it’s my fault. I don’t know how to love you
The nights aren’t warm
anymore. There’s an autumn
chill outside of my bedroom.
It’s planting season.
So my brother does what
any man does in planting season.
Dirt under his fingernails.
His sweater smells like rain.
The sweat, and tears of a hard day’s work.
I smile. I laugh. I watch him
through the kitchen window.
I make him endless cups
of coffee. I want to make
him happy because damn
if I know how to love him, or you,
or anyone else for that matter.
I touch spice that once only came from India
On Spanish ships. I touch spice
That feels like sand, intense
It gives heat to the food. Aroma.
My hands smell of turmeric
There are golden stains on my clothes
My hair smells of curry leaves
I suspect the meal I am making
Will only bring comfort to me
Already my eyes are tearing up
Because of the layers and layers
Of onions. I scrub the potatoes
Under cold running water before
I peel them. This is the literature
Of a woman, by a woman, recipes
Shared by women throughout
The ages confessed to another woman,
Others. This is part of a woman’s
Human experience. She will carry
This forever. Recipes and a long list
Of ingredients resurrected
By your lips. By your throat. Food making
A celebrity out of every woman.
The food dying in the pot before it is brought
To life repeatedly. By your lips.
You throwing caution to the wind.
Waiting for your footsteps in the dark
You’re language set
in motion. You’re
dry and thirst and
Hope. I don’t want
to be alone with you.
I just don’t trust myself
with you. So I wait
for your shadow to
sing to me in the dark.
I wait for your cold
hands. Your cold
Feet. The world is
dark out. Always dark out when you come for
Me. The stars belong
to the mountain
while your footsteps belong
The trees don’t know
Anything about the branches of pain.
The purple veins of hurt. The terrible price
That comes with a wound.
Let’s go there. Let’s go and
rub salt in the wound. There’s
a breeze, a whirlwind in my lovely bones.
Spring, it silences all of my fears.
You’re good at praising and
Worshiping me. Promise me
That you will walk this earth
Poetry © Abigail George
Photo by zainab mlongo on Unsplash (modified)