I am Emily Dickinson’s winter revisited in Amherst-land. I am so
more aware of age and getting older than I have ever been. Czech-
hair as bright as the invincible sun. State of volcano inferno in his eyes.
Homer, Goethe, Dante, Petrarch sing in tune about being the sapling,
being so patient when it comes to unfulfilled love, and misfortune.
You have been patient with me, mother, all this time. You kiss her
on the lips. You kiss her on the beach. You kiss her on the cheek.
To me, sibling, I have become disciple. You have become follower.
Spoilt baby, you have no fear of sexual intimacy. You’re not afraid of
sharp objects. I think of your evolution, sibling. You’re obsessed,
a poser, quartet of postures, you’re Switzerland, your heart is ice, your
psyche made out of paper, and you’re watching the first snow in
Czechoslovakia. I am the writer in the fog-cage. You’re the light. You
are everywhere. You exhale a pose with your boyfriend. I am not his
mother, they say, they say, they say. Columns of light. Columns of
light. You, sibling are the pillars there. I think like a man. I think like
a woman. I am the scholarship girl on the ash heap full of anguish.
I think of the beauty of language. I want you to be my friend and
mentor again. This location is red. Somebody is loving you in all the
ways that I couldn’t. I am slipping into darkness again. Sibling, you are
the prodigal daughter, the origins of smoke and mirrors, the two-
faced dilemma facing the supernatural instinct. Remember wherever
you find yourself in Europe the rain of our childhood, the sea of
our childhood, little atlas with your comforting progress. The big
city where I live lapping at my watery subconscious. Every foot has a
wrong note. You spell out the feast of romantic love wherever you
go. So, I manage the loss of you brick by brick, seawall by seawall, and
watch you walk away as if I never existed in your life, and you never
existed in my life. Water swelling all around me like a giant taproot.
Gingerly, then increasing in spotlight. I think of my own suffering,
and then I think of my loneliness. The people in my life who were spared.
The people in my life who are gone. On their own journey. They are
not here anymore to tell me of their stellar marriages, their children
that breeze over mountains, hike to the clouds, eating the butter of
the sun. I thought that happiness would last forever but it doesn’t. It is like
famine, like a dry riverbed, like a drought, like an intersectional-fork.
Abigail George is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated South African essayist, poet, short story writer, and novelist.