The river is filled to the bare maximum with life.
Women are more heroic than men. They have to
Be. Clocks tell time. The time we must go to bed.
The time we must face another day. Smoke gets
In my brother’s eyes. He opens the pathways to
The veins in my heart. I’m an animal when it comes
To books. The night is there to fill the hours with
Making love. My brother is always buying cigarettes.
Bees work at night (like I do). I write poems for
A living. Work until the early hours of the morning.
My mother washes the linen. I can see the veins
On her still life beautiful hands. When my mother
Irons my brother’s shirt I watch the expression
On her face. Is she happy or is she sad that he is
Moving away from her in this world to the next. I
Know a bird when I see them. I ask the infant,
‘What is eating you?’ he gurgles with delight as if
I have found his hiding place. I tell him I am going
To eat him up. His antelope legs first, his eyes, the
Pink flame of his tiny hands. One day I will have
To release him. Find my exit out, hatch an escape.
One day he will be a man in a man’s world and
I will be an old woman. He’ll grow into fire and muscle.
I’ll think to myself of the good old days when I
Was young, and free to do as I please. I’ll keep my
Last breath a secret from the world until the end.
Until night comes and takes my aged fragility with it.
- Abigail George 2016
Abigail George is a feminist thinker and a South African poet and writer. She contributed to a symposium in Finland for a year (Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine). She is the recipient of two writing grants from the National Arts Council, Johannesburg, one from the Centre for the Book, Cape Town and ECPACC (Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council), East London, South Africa. Winter in Johannesburg, a collection of short stories, is her latest book and is available as an electronic version on Amazon. Her poem ‘What happened at Lonmin’ is included in an anthology of poetry against political violence that was edited by Rethabile Masilo and she was invited to participate in the Imbizo Arts Book Fair (2016) held in Port Elizabeth. She studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg.