Then to leave you war, leaving me. To eat fish with a bib.
How am I ever going to find healing and recovery in
my life? Always misunderstood, grasping at straws, never
thinking about the future, future-anything, future-love,
future-life. I think of you. I turn to you in my deepest and
darkest despair. I think that of course my happiest
moments were of course spent with you, although
you will never know this. Your wife will never know this.
You will never know how much I have loved you from afar.
I think of you and the music as my lover. I am spell-
bound by your grace. The mercy and goodness that I
see in your eyes every time you look at me. Of course,
in my own way, I thought that you felt the same. I felt
loved. Well, anyway, I told myself that. I told myself how
beautiful you are. I trust people too easily. They’re
family, I tell myself. So, so, so they must love myself
unconditionally. I tell myself. Beginners in diplomacy are
waiting on the world to change, and everybody must
have a seat at the table. The disabled who receive a
disability grant and can’t work, leaders of government,
I wanted to know my family but they didn’t want to
know me. I wanted death not life, but God had other
plans for me. My aunt’s voice turned into pearls of
wisdom. Daddy dear, it hurts so much. So, I don’t eat
to shut out the pain. I become anorexic again. I eat
green salad out of the bowl. I want a new, healthier
version of me. They all tell me I’m unwell again. Goodbye
my lover, goodbye my friend. What exactly did you want
from me in the first place? I have nothing but love and
of course, the eternal curse of waiting for you to return
to me. I have nothing for you. My mother doesn’t drink
my coffee. Not even my coffee is good enough for her.
Now he wants nothing to do with me because I am as
mad as a hatter. Now he does not love me. Now he thinks
nothing of me, and his wife has transformed herself into
the very image of me. The love of my life, he, he, won’t
save me. The nature of the illness is unstoppable. In my
heart of hearts, I ask mum why didn’t you love me? She
is my protein and my angelic conjured-up myth. She is
my extended piece of poetry. But now there are glaciers
between me and Mrs Rochester in the attic. There’s an
ice picnic. Nothing of made up of childhood chronicles
remains only the great thought of a child, and the sly movement
towards the bright lights of a city warms her heart now, that
gives her hope. Warm body, cold hands, cold feet, cold
heart, blue, blue, blue but I want justice. We’re civilized
now when we meet. My sister goes to beer festivals. No
more tea parties in the garden for us serious ladies in our
mother’s church hats and shoes, lipstick on our teeth,
our cheeks are pomegranate-red and our perfumed hair that
smells like flowers, our happy reflections in the mirror.
Where the day takes you, to whatever chapter, to the
outfield alone, or, to the responsibility of the wedding
I will think of you always as a blessing, you rogue wave
running through the thin lines of light out from the wanting
mountain to the river in the valley of Patricia Lockwood.
Amy Butcher, do you know of this sun, this heated debate,
this blackbird sky, this meta-loaded theory in this gun,
Your head is a cloud, and I’m a burnt-out volcano. You’re
poetry, and I’m the inheritance packaged in the winter
stars of bipolar skin. I believe in words, gazer, you believe in
the utter devotion of your man, sibling. The sky is darkening.
You’re leaving me again, and everything is twisted up
into pieces. I’m a shock absorber. Well, at least I have
the condition of one. The life and work of one. Feels like
this movement has been coming a long time. Being left.
We’re the young lions fronting this country filled with
blue yonder. We’re searching for miracles. You’re buying
paradise if you can get it. Do you remember the ascent of
the seagull, the colour of the day climbing up to the air, the
swell of light in the garden. I remember when you held
yourself against the sea of this country, the birds of this
land with all of your principles. The flowers are puppets,
the grass neon. You’re grown. You’re grown. I watch you
fly. You don’t look back. You don’t say goodbye. Your
heart on lockdown, you walk away. You cease to love me
back, in return, sibling. You want to run. I walk to
the places I want to go. That is my kind of thing, that is
what my life revolves around. You forget me as if I’m just
figment. Do you know the white bird, do you know the
white bird? All you can think of is pale skin, duck in a
raining Berlin for Christmas lunch with your die-hard friends.
You’re Europe. You’re Europe. You made it as far as dad.
I haven’t really been anywhere. Can’t think of where I want
to be now. I want to be everywhere. But I’m old. And
you’re still young. You’re still wearing your fire-engine
red lipstick as if it is warpaint. I’m dead inside for Paris.
That’s where all the novelists go. No pulse for the snow’s
extreme cold. No heartbeat for school. Nothing like you,
that’s mastered everything, sibling. You don’t tell me that
you love me anymore. This makes me sad, more hurt
than sad. I’m stuck in time. Stuck building sandcastles
in the air as if we were children again, sibling. You’ve
passed that phase. You don’t remember it all. Rather, I don’t
expect you to. Aspects of that life have gone the exit out.
Abigail George is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated South African essayist, poet, short story writer, and novelist.