THE INFERTILITY POEM
(OR THE SAD WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH)
My cousin has two
small children (brilliant,
bold, brave daughters). While I have none. Only the
distillate of winter’s
unquiet. I am staring out of the window at winter’s branches
of reckoning. Winter’s
storms. Like new bees
in the universe. The
arrival of the half-sea
half-river. I am lovesick.
Lovesick for a child.
For children of my own.
Tangled in the story
and art of it. Of life.
Dancing away and into
the arms, the passage
and the mother tongue
of infertility’s ghost.
My poems are tough.
Especially the poems from my childhood.
Gone but not forgotten.
It is the sunshine in your
voice that I wish to
forget as I travel towards
an unknown future. As I
wash my hands in a basin,
wash the dishes in the
sink or my hair, run a
bath, water running out
of the faucet. As I prepare
a meal flying solo. As I
cook food in steaming pots
on the stove I realise this.
That I can’t count on you
anymore. You’re dead to me and I am
dead to you. You’re this poem.
The seduction goes
something like this.
I climb into myself and then
there is a disturbance.
My hands go haywire
and grasp at everything.
I go inside my head.
I’m waiting for you to show up. My knight in shining armour. Sitting
in a restaurant. You
show up. Hungry. Can’t wait to order. Is this a test?
The windows are dirty.
The bullies were tough on me in high school Mikale
You’re a tree, a
dove, an idea, a window,
name, a face. It belonged to
me. Made me feel
whole. I gathered
wisdom in my hands.
It felt surreal. My
mouth dry. My spirit
warm. I have to embrace
the future. This,
(Perhaps that is why I’m a poet.
I’m always writing to reach you.)
this means war.
You’re a sigh. Ornamental.
Now I know what
love is. Letting go. Letting go.
dictate the distances
I travel now. Go places.
Going, going, gone.
I am the current, the climate, the energy
of the sun, the planets.
I am intricate. I am thought.
I am the morning.
I am spirit, and future.
You’re a Saturday morning.
Remote-controlled flesh and blood.
In your arms, I feel I can be anything.
THE IMPORTANT FIRST STEP
In my dream, there are
country life scenes that
come to life where windows
meet life. A raw, joyful
scattering of the future of
unclenched seed hangs in
the balance but you (the lover) are
a stranger to these country
life scenes of trees and rain.
Brilliant fields and the transformation of
harvest there. Foam is a
stranger to these parts. Flowers of
fire and flame on this hot
summer’s day. I pass through
the channels of the tide. The floating, the
gathering. Searching for the
dream world of philosophy,
education, the independent
study of horoscope in beauty
and fashion magazine. I
pass through the tide meeting the comfort of homesick strangers,
there longing for Christian fellowship and
thanksgiving just like me. Encountering the
passion of the Christ there.
It is here where I fish for Jesus.
THE ART OF STARTING AGAIN
Everything has a beginning and an
end. A cheap violation. Saga!
Conqueror! The omen is my master. The image of grass and feathers,
gathering rain and disappearing
birds, thin gulls flying overhead at
the beach and then not flying
overhead, a trembling girl in a
man’s arms who will never be
a girl again after that life experience.
Memory translated loosely from
the flesh and blood to the systems of
bone is like a river. The flight of birds,
voices are like gulls blooming in
the photochemical air above me.
In my dream a beggar melts into
water. The snow that gathers here, outside the windows
in winter is a witness to grief. It
seems as if something inside of me, (inside the
borders of me) is damaged or
wounded. Hurt and filled with
pain. There’s an emptiness beneath
the skin. I find the hunting sessions of
melancholia there. The democracy
of smoke, holy, innocent and pure. It makes me feel
both exhausted and thirsty. I wanted
him to take me into his arms but
I also wanted to be the one to let
him go. Understand this! My inner
being is abundant. It is made up of
subliminal atoms and jubilant particles.
Visions of intimate rapture. In
my dream a beggar melts into water.
You open your mouth and out pours
shadows, darkness, despair, heartache.
I am older. You are old. More set
in your ways. I am after all these
years the damaged, harmed starling.
You were formidable, dazzling.
I am fragile. After the argument
with my mother, I think of you in faraway Johannesburg
armed with Los Angeles. A strange
heat underneath my skin, flesh and bone. Our relationship
(or whatever that was) ancient.
His eyes are widening chrysanthemums.
Folding and unfolding.
Cheerful and innocent flowers.
The vanities of the sun are found therein.
The stroke of love like a sonnet.
Stars in the moonlight.
You, a diamond-star above the woods.
The trees are like candles in the dark.
I hear you cry Little Buddha
And I wrap you up in my arms
As you struggle. I am not your mother,
Your grandmother or your father.
You’re a wildflower taming midnight
And wilderness. You hunt enchanting birds
And ‘dangerous’ snakes. Lions and tigers and worms
In your grandmother’s garden.
The tall souls of hungry bees, the
manna of butterflies and moths
that spread their wings in the shadowed light.
I’ve found a link to you, hopeful muse
You dance in your soft country with expression
Lighting up your face like neon.
He’s a shell of his father, the suggestion of a hymn,
As I drink my coffee at the kitchen table.
He sleeps while I write, he plays while I compose
A tribe of poems from instinct.
He builds a campfire in the sitting room.
Shelters by an imaginary coast.
He falls with the thunder of a scream
Scratching his throat. Eyes wrinkled.
He is a city made of water (earth, soil, tears, salt and light).
He is the wave found at the bottom of the sea.
the windows to his soul.
Poems © Abigail George
Image: by Gregoire Sitter on Unsplash