Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New Poetry by Abigail George

The genius of the fish

(for the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)

My mother was a woman who cut a striking figure in 
blue jeans even well into her sixties. She was a 

woman half-formed by the green sea. You would find 
me after watching my favourite soap in the afternoon

weeping amongst the glaciers, catching the oyster-cloth
of my breath considering every forward lurch of my 

sin into hell. I will still remember and go on remembering.
A mother who was also a sister, a daughter who was now

an orphan. Touch me. I am flesh and bone like you,
chiseled into an aching, living, breathing thing. Into this

human body engineered for love and the psychology of 
it all, of most of all disability and I think of the genius 

of fish. How they move in water, gulping in air through
their gills. Supreme triumph after triumph. How perfect

they seem to be on the surface of things. They’ll never 
know what it is to dance in their bare feet or sadness or

electroshock therapy. I think of you with a kind of longing.
Sometimes in the same way I think of John Nash. I over-

think of this empty mirror. No reflection, no muse, no
nation there, no habitat, no cave dweller. I’m more or less

drone than bat. Seed is found there in the elements and 
dimensions of nature. People are found there in swimming 

pools in the same way they’re found numb after taking pain 
medication. Girls remind me of Updike. Faces that I have no 

longing to kiss. Boys remind me of Sartre and Beauvoir’s 
relationship. Their union erratic, unpredictable. With their 

faces that I have no longing to kiss. I long for you. How
I long for you. Your company, to sit next to, to understand

that there is only this love in the world and that nothing
divides us absolutely. You’re reflection projected, muse

interrupted, chaos and disorder exploding like bombs 
in my brain. I write to reach you. All I ask in return is that

you accept me high and low, crushing and numb, deaf  
to the burn wound of my soul, to the voiceless bone sticking-out.

You’re my girl, you’re my girl, you’re my girl. Reminding
me of Updike, Rilke, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Bambi.

- Abigail George 2019

Pushcart Prize-nominated Abigail George is a South African blogger, essayist, poet and short story writer. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. Her latest book is The Scholarship Girl published by Zimbabwean Publishing company Mwanaka Media and Publishing and edited by Tendai Rinos Mwanaka. She is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, one from the Centre of the Book in Cape Town and ECPACC in East London.

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