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Abigail George | The Mental Hospital

The Mental Hospital

Castle on a hill. Dust. Dust (dust).
Doors that could be locked from
(I could not get out, why?/locked in)
the outside. Now I hold a baby in
(I am still brave, still quiet, still suffering)
my arms, my brother’s daughter.
Insomnia. Meditation is helpful.

I swim, go for long walks, get fresh
air and my skin shines. I glide into
(no, I float like a cloud, cumuli)
the television room. The patients
watch Patch Adams. Fast forward
to 2023. Robin Williams is dead.
Now (no more sunflowers, light beer in the fridge)

I read poems by the Dutch English
poet Joop Bersee. I remember Jozi.
Johannesburg traffic and skyline.
Joop doesn’t write to me anymore
from the Netherlands. I feel fine.
Really, I feel more than fine, these days.
What else am I supposed to feel?


God, it hurts

It was a thousand steps
until the end of the love
affair. Until I call you up
from memory again. Until
my triumph turns to dust
in a blink of an eye. You
will be muse for all of my
lifetime. I wonder about
the suitable women in your
life. I turn to my madness
and sing. I butter bread. I
eat soup. I manufacture
psychological distress and
turn it into a plush toy for
the baby. And so, my brother’s
child becomes the daughter
I never had. There’s an ocean
inside my heart. I listen to the
other ocean. Ocean Vuong.
The sound of his voice is melodic.
Sun that turns into moon.


Forget this place of memorabilia and weeping

In childhood
I’m energetic flight
I’m years
flying over

lapses of judgement.
the purple

sea. The
is my cushion.
The velvet
ice cream

tastes like mint
and pistachio.
The dark spot is
high school.

In adolescence
I’m nautical
My throat is a
flower, the

inside of
my mouth
the texture
of a plum.

I am no
longer flying
over Dali’s
surreal clocks.

Years pass.
The rind of
an orange drops
into a child’s lap.

In adulthood I’m
atlas shrugged
Aiming for the moon
a young girl

experiences her
first blood. I am fragile. I

am weathered.
I am beaten.
The bird
hiccups into song.

Now infirm,
I have
reached the valley

which breaks
a mountain’s yolk.

Poetry: Abigail George
Image: Foad Roshan on Unsplash

Abigail George
Abigail George
South African Abigail George is a blogger, essayist, short story writer, screenwriter, novelist, and poet. She briefly studied film in Johannesburg. She has two film projects in development and is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. Her publishers are Tendai Rinos Mwanaka (Zimbabwe, Mwanaka Media and Publishing or Mmap), Xavier Hennekinne (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books), and Thanos Kalamidas (Finland, Ovi). Her literary representative is Morten Rand. She is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net nominated, and European Union Poetry Prize longlisted poet. Her poem “The Accident” was Identity Theory's Editor's Choice for Spring. Ink Sweat and Tears chose her poem “When light poured into me at the swimming pool” as a September Pick of the Month, and she recently made the shortlist of the Writing Ukraine Prize 2023. She is a poet/writer who believes in the transformative, restorative and healing powers of words. Her latest book is Letter To Petya Dubarova (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books). Young Galaxies (a poetry book) was released in 2023 from Mmap and a memoir When Bad Mothers Happen is forthcoming. “Clarissa, Hector and Septimus Redefined” was recently published by Novelty Fiction in Kindle format.

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