Dorothea Laskey

My mother never taught me things
(mostly nothings). My mother never told
me that she loved me. My mother
never spoke to me again after she
dumped me at Tara. That godforsaken
posh mental institution in the middle
of Sandton city in the asphalt jungle
of Johannesburg. Will you ever forgive
me? Will you, will you tell me that
you love me? Hold me east and west
back. Hold me back now with your
slow hands of fire, before I finally let
you go to Prague where you’ll learn Czech.
Before I surrender you to international
China, before you interview Paris.
You saved my life again and again and
again. Do you love me, kind sir, knight
with your shining horse? I am so pale.
Nobody has ever told me that they loved
me. Nobody has ever held me so close,
and made me promise not to waste
my life, answered the phone when it’s
my number. Roxette said it must have
been love but it is over now. It’s where
the river flows, it’s where the river flows,
it’s where the wind blows. She glows,

she glows like the wick of a candle.
I glow the candle out. It is done. It is
done. Now I have to get on with the
idea of living with you, and living without
you. I choose you, and reconciliation.
For you are promised to me, and I just
want to praise you, take you at your
word. Out stain, out stain. Spot of wine, of
blood. You don’t love me anymore.
Dear, doubt, fear, anxiety, shame. Shame.
Breakthrough, love, or break through,
this is the meaning of breakthrough,
my love. Will you ever forgive me for
everything, everything that I said, that
I did. Chameleon. Young complicated
boy, confident swagger now. Tall, dark,
and handsome. Look at me, he says. Of
course, I forgive you he says. I’ve loved
you from afar all my life, want nothing
but the best for you, I worship and
adore you. Want to for the rest of my life.
Obey, honour, submit. They were just
words before. You pour great fire and
life into the words obey, honour and submit.
I am yours; I am yours, yours, yours.

Abigail George is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated South African essayist, poet, short story writer, and novelist.

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