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Fists of Fishes: Poems by Abigail George

Fists of fishes (1)

Absurd clot –
Fade, fade away
Like a whale

On the mirrored
Lining of pale clouds –

There was no milk
In her breasts
So she slept

During the day
In a cell of her own

On fishes –
Her mouth

Tasted like salt
Summoned pangs
Of loneliness

I sprout wings
In a bed of moss
The next day

And fly away
Our mouths shut
Up as children

Every weight
Embalmed –
Business as usual

Beneath the surface
Bullied a flood – a knife
In my back

It kills me slowly
The flower of my heart
This red continent

Fists of fishes (2)

Of rice and confetti –
What does love mean
This scar

This country of men
Breathing in the musk
Of their skin

In the hush
Of nighttime necking
Is set in stone

A stake for company
Oh how immaculate –
But it is of little comfort

There is mother
Nourishing her babes
Like seed

With the scent
Of wood in her hair
Rust, hours

The rings of my palms
Are lined with buds of love
A gift that you refuse

The needle seduces
A mosquito bite on my arm
A lavender blot squats

Walk on
As if you have not heard
A word I’ve said

The owl worms its way
Through the air – hooting at
Nothing at all

Except the authentic
Wind – like virgin clay
It seeks warmth,

Fists of fishes (3)

Revenge in hollows
I seek revenge in a forest
In the dead of a winter

What are these
Unbalanced swarms
Upon my lips

Dadaist bees, bees
And more bees –

In patches of light
Swallowed whole
Like the heads

Of Siamese twins
The strong chin of
An American idol

What does it take
To please a man if not

How fragile that is
Remember when it rained
How the weather turned

You smiled back
In a house on fire
Gills on fire in the air

Screaming for the
Familiar trance of
Waves in seawater

I hunt
In fields of gold
Driven mad

We flash our
Teeth – bound
For hotter

Fists of fishes (4)

Coloured souls
In white skins

Islands –
Seeing the beauty
In your

As a metaphor
For the unseen

So we make
A covenant with
Death –

There is no room
For war or troops
The uneducated

Only for husband
And wife – sturdy
Infant on lap

How schizophrenic
These pictures must
Seem to you

There is black dust
In the agriculture of
Our land

Noble, gifted
Pure – feel God’s
Spirit and beauty

Everywhere –
The crown of thorns on
His head that He

Surrendered –
I have sized it up
Its poise.


My words find themselves
In a coffin – in mud they flower
Like a lotus without an ego

I educe furtive patience
Through tolerable effigies
Put elbow grease into it

Like a furrier or impala
These concessions are donors
Of instrumental organs

Like a locked junction box
Impervious, doomed empires
Room here – in the jugular

I touch your maxillae – your
Golden skull cap with my tools
Spy this mattock in hand

As I fiercely nail this tooth
To my father’s namesake for
The keys to the nascent idea

Recant this rule – engage
The physique of narcissism,
Piccaninnies, jonquils on

A slope, the sky rufous
Narcosis takes a rum flight –
The galloping sea breeze

Salt in caves of mouths
Feels like a webbed pellicle
Doing a slap-bang runner

In rush hour – here is
Slashed phyla on my plate
Pert sleepers no more

Letters loved and lost
There is only this wood left
To pounce on – revenge.


Winged sleet is only
Sufficient in memory
Hinted at in atlas –

On maps; geography
Down came the rain –
Housed with you in

Its grasped picture
You came dying – shut
Out undone in streams

In wet rivers of dreams
You glide, flocked, awed
Pressed unaccompanied

Once flung into flight
Your arrival immortal
I envy you – the

Stars in your eyes
Like dew – your tears
Are the tears of a

Hero exhausted
From blows – a barren
Silence in which

Nothing fertile grows –
Weeping pours out of your
Heart as if you were

Soulless; moulded you
Effortlessly – gave your
Self worth although

It aged you – you
Brought me to a home
Cradled me as if

I were nothing just
Waiting to be rescued
Waiting to be saved.


You –
With the dark sorrel
Hairs save me?

I’ve lost you –
And I only have
Myself to blame

Bookish now –
I’m alone and sad
This boomerang

Has kept me going
For the ladders of these
Past ten or so years

It’s been a waked boon – oh
It’s been a wild ride to get my
Ego from A to Zero

Monsters have come and
Gone – grown inside of me
With legs as strong as elk

Lazarus or a Pharisee
Gems, mother-of-pearl –
I’ve roused too late

I’ve come to the thawed
End of my bloody, damned fluke –
I wish, I wish, I wish

I could take it all back brick
By brick – but every time I hit
A wall, a monsoon, a mistake

What warrant of
Success is there that you will
Break – that you will speak

This waif wails –
But can you hear her?
The gift of her voice.

Something about the life of a writer

Words flock
Onto the page –
I am left numb

Like a wadi
Any cold, wet thing
It dissolves

Subtly – unseen
Into a host of wounds,

Deaf mutes – the gut
Of a wind

Like tiny hands
It reaches out for me
It coos straight

From the shell
Of a heart – a

Wakened state
Of dreaming –
Like an infant

It is gone, gone, done
Grown up in years –
Matured, ripened

Like the brick walls
Of a house by the sun’s
Summer heat or fruit

Even the very small ones
Their welfare is pure – and
Carry a gravid weight

Wedlocked to words –
This is something of the
Life of a writer.

The poet

Loosed – this gesture comes with
Maternal pride; ceremony across
The page, they are not strangers –

Instead they comfort: even the
Savage, alien beasts – their deaths
Are magical, a temple of delight.

All poems (c) 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.

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