TONIGHT THE SKY WAS EMPTY
Fresh pipes are wasted as something blurred –
A foot, an eye, written on the body
A scrape of September from my knee
Examine my teeth. They are beautiful.
A lover stalks a lover.
In the end, they become husband and wife.
The moonlight is too intent for me.
What happened before my birth?
Do my parents remember burning away?
That there were aloes from Bethelsdorp.
There were embers that were flying.
Hair a field stopping for nothing.
Bones were anchors. A marriage.
They knew children would come eventually.
He puts his hands on her hips and they dance.
They do not have children yet.
My father knows everything there is to know about the works of Milton.
My mother’s skin tastes of salt, a paralysed river poured into a machine.
How he loves the canvas of her skin.
How he wishes that this
could go on forever and ever.
Before the children come.
She is the butcher’s wife.
She dreams of scrolls.
Are you there God Listening?
Are you having conversations with a prophet?
My mother has a garden state of mind.
Flowers bloomed in her hair there
that tasted like chrysanthemums,
the air that you found after going up the mountain.
My aunt is dying of cancer.
She is dying of breast cancer.
She will not make it to another
Birthday. Another Christmas.
I write imaginary letters
to a brother in rehab.
I found Ouma’s kitchen
in the fellowship of the wild.
I was a teenage runaway.
Does God answer prayer?
When the children do come.
Suddenly know there is a distance.
A separation that was not there before.
The children are strong.
They have to be.
Their parents soon realise that vows
well they were not enough.
Buying furniture, a house.
My mother’s hands feel like fire.
She is braiding my hair.
She wants me to look as beautiful
and as elegant as she does.
I am just a silhouette.
I have fallen in love with aviaries.
Gush and gush and a gush of glut.
Memory is bleak, a pageant of sorts.
I pull my nightgown over my head.
I remember when boys stalked my flesh.
Those days are long gone.
My thighs have their own narrative.
My voice is golden as it falls to decay.
Listen to the cat. The dog howls in the distance.
I have the loneliness of scars.
I was happy in the light.
In the darkness flux too.
I opened my eyes, remembered childhood.
When my parents’ gave each other
The silent treatment.
They are not lovers anymore.
Have not been for years. They were happy once.
Their unhappiness has filtered down to us.
Children made of evenings and tennis.
Children who are competitive at the swings.
Children who have now become lovers too.
Children whose lives have become so filled with dread.
Children who are afraid they will end up like their parents.
Poem (c) Abigail George
IMAGE: Surian Soosay via Flickr