The Retired Psychiatrist: Poetry by Abigail George

Image: Pixabay.com
Image: Pixabay.com
Image: Pixabay.com


He remembers hearing
the words we
are not couples
That fight all
the time. He looks at his wife who
is not speaking
to him. We are
who we are. And
thinks to himself
that the sea
is tired. Perhaps
as forlorn as he
is. He’s a man
in the garden. He imagines
The sun covering
the dark water.
Cold to the touch.
He wonders what
The right language
Of love is for winter guests. How
To make peace

With his wife. He wants to embrace
Her. Take her
In his arms as if
She was a girl
Again. Brush her
Hair out of her
Face with his granadilla
Hands. Forget
That he is in the
Autumn of his
Years. He wants
To forget that he
Used to do this for a living.
He wants to know if his unhappy marriage is on
The verge of
Cracking up.
He wants to know
If she’s finally going to leave him.



I make the telephone
Call even though
I don’t really want to.
I search for cool words, the right language.
I’m searching
For you but
You’re difficult
To find. You’re
Not on any map
And every road
Is covered in darkness
I imagine you (the golden breakthrough of you)
The golden light
Of you that is
Only found in a museum.
You’re a woman
Now. No longer a girl.
Of all of you
That is so necessary to me for me
To live and think of

While I live and
Work in another city.
This is what
I want to say.
You’re so beautiful.
Blood a rock face.
Twin flesh making me giddy
You make me weak.
There’s a music school
Inside my head.
I think of you sitting
Down or washing
The dishes. Eating
A simple meal
Never understanding
How much I love
You. How much
I need you in my life.
Your voice is
Tender and sweet on the other end of the line.
Your flame is bright.



The unforeseen visitor
Emptiness, like blood
Can be graceful and intelligent.
Poured into the
Human body it can be
Useful. You can
Gather it in your
Arms, call it, all the cells and platelets, ‘harvest’.
But be careful because
It can come with the
Mechanism of wild gestures.
It will remind you that you need your
Rest after a lover
Has left you high and dry.
It will make you
Shake it off like a fish.
You will find yourself
Swimming towards it on a bright
Summer day without
A care in the world.
The mansion of the sky on fire. Life tired
Of the heat and dust.

Emptiness will be on
Your tongue. It will be
Your mother tongue
Until a replacement comes
Along. Another migration
Will take place. You will
Fall in love again.
You will learn to live again.
It will happen when
You least expect it though.
When your country is tired
Of being broken by waves.
Of being cold or tired.
Of being called ‘meat country’.
Or the exit. Or the escape. Or even so quiet
That it is terrifying.

Poems © Abigail George
Image: Pixabay.com

About the author

Abigail George

Abigail George’s fiction was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She briefly studied film at Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. She is the recipient of grants from the National Arts Council, Johannesburg, Centre for the Book in Cape Town, and ECPACC (Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council) in East London. She has been widely published from Australia, to Finland to Nigeria, and New Delhi, India to Istanbul, Turkey and Wales.
Her blog African Renaissance can be found online in Modern Diplomacy under Topics.
She contributed for a year to a symposium on Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine. She is a poet, fiction writer, feminist thinker, essayist, and a blogger at Goodreads.

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