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The Comfort of Strangers: Poems by Abigail George



Infertility is a dangerous
Word. It doesn’t live in the sun.
You think its mansion is
A season or a phase when
It first comes up. It never
Comes up in hurried conversation though.
The word ‘infertility’ is
Thunderous in my soul. So
Is the flight of children. Fight
For children. The glimmer
And spark in the dark of
The river of sorrow claws
Its way with its red talons
Into the dark ice of my lungs.
The rose quartz of my heart.
My dark soul that captivates
My psyche. Winter makes
Me feel empty inside. I sit writing
(Always writing) in longhand

At my brother’s desk. He has
Gone off to work in an office.
I sit at his desk which used
To be my father’s desk. For
Ten years my father was a principal
At a high school in the Northern
Areas. This was his desk. For
Most of the day it is mine. I
Want to be happy but it’s hard
In a sea of faces clucking disapproval
At the choices that I’ve made
With my life. The first thing my
My sister always asks me is this,
‘Are you going to get paid for this?’
I answer no that I’m not. It’s for
Cred not bread. It’s the sun,
Always the sun that dries up
All my tears. I’m always testing the
Relationships I have like that.



I cannot comprehend
How she moves in the
World now yet I still
See the beauty in the spell
Of her eyes. I’ve loved
Her from afar. I see and
Hear everything in this
Doctor’s waiting room.
The receptionist with her
Open, friendly smile
When she comes to check
My sugar. I never wanted
To be a poet. Instead
It chose me. Maturity comes
With letting go. Learning
How to fly and then with
Having no expectations
You find wealth. A wealth
Of spirituality, knowledge,
Prosperity within you.
We both needed each other
For the longest time and
Then we didn’t. That’s

Honesty for you. I cannot
Comprehend the depth of her
In the world anymore.
She is no longer my muse.
When ice turns to water
There’s attraction. A
Certain kind of belonging
In the world. My brother
Is about to become a
Father. (I have a secret). He can’t tolerate
My madness anymore.
Neither can the Johannesburg
People either. I have tears
In my eyes as I sit in front
Of the family doctor. His daughter
Has just started university.
We have known him ever
Since she was knee high.
(On not having children).
I have other gifts. Ordinary
Ones as well as extraordinary.
(On turning forty in a few years’ time).
I have lived a life filled with
Buoyant ecstasy and hope.



I prefer being the madwoman
In the attic. A Mrs. Rochester.
I understand that kind of life.
It pleases me. I can’t turn my
Back on it. Walk away from it.
I’ve already forgiven you. It’s
My thing. This a modern way of thinking
On blue days. When the flame of
My soul is on fire. And fasting
The inner music of my soul, the
Night away and old world nostalgia.
You were the one (big magic).
You’re still young at heart. Your hands
Are still beautiful, my consolation.
Years of silence has crept up
On both of us. Made a martyr

Out of me and a saint out
Of you. The big magic of solitude and loneliness
Has climbed into our souls.
You’re as radiant as the sun.
The same sun that makes ‘trees’
Out of all of us. After all this
Time you’re still ‘the one’ to
Me but you’re married now.
You’ve put down ancient and
Green roots in another city
That might as well be another
Country. The dream of you
Is still in my eyes. Life is hard
For me now and I wonder if you
Can understand that. That my
Silence is golden. My speech is silver like
The centre of winter’s flux.

Poems: © Abigail George

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.


  1. your poems are always good,intense and fact I taught some of your poems in one of my feminist courses last semester.keep up the good work,sister

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