October 15, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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Abigail George




Even when my soul sleeps or studies and observations of clouds



It is a hot, dry summer with water restrictions.

Our parents and you thought rehab was necessary.

Let go of the world (I want to tell

you. All is a majority. Even this pigment. This

gold feast of peace). Once we were

made of water but who made up these rules.

We followed them like fools growing up.


The kingdom of God is within. I have

finally left childhood radiance behind.

Spiritual maturity is when we become

like the Christ-figure. I hope they are

teaching you that where you are. It’s

summer. Days of thunder. The unseen

is eternal. I am listening to your music.

Lying on your bed. Barefoot. My feet

are dirty. You’re not here. You’re here

but you’re also not here. You’re in rehab

and we’re all made of water and rain.

Tears a waterfall. I think of the dirty

dishes I must wash. The stories I must

read to your son. The garden I must

water for your sake. That has been your ‘sanctuary’

after all these months. How before you

left you could never sleep at night.


Are you growing spiritually, I wonder?

I think of you in your sadness. Silence

closing in on your loneliness. Daylight.

The cold in the morning hitting your face.

Summer touching you as you work outside. Your limbs gaining vigour

and perspective. I guess there’s order in

that kind of routine. I am in need of

crayons to colour you in. Your passion.

Your history. Your progress. Your borders.

Your trembling voice as you talk to your son.


I miss your shortbread. You riding around

in your car with young goddesses who

wear too much makeup. Drinking single

malt whiskies and vodka and pineapple

juice but you’ll have to stop doing that.

You’ll really have to stop doing that. And I wonder,

if you’ll make it after all when you come home.






Journey into the centre of summer



My father, the artist, sleeps

the sleep of the dead in the hot afternoon.

In this house, we do nothing but

sleep and eat. Live to survive

another day like the winter leaf finding

refuge in the blue light. We find our way through

instinct. I kiss his old, tired-looking


face. Tell him to take the cup by

the handle. Everything goes electric

when he cannot walk. Make it to the

bathroom. I see it in his eyes. He can’t

believe he’s old. I repair him with

food. I’m not a good cook but I try.

Making mostly pastas. Making mostly

spaghetti. I count out his pills. Iron his handkerchiefs

for church. He has one good suit.

Wonder if (the pills) they’re really doing any

good for him. His limbs play up.

Sometimes they’re invincible. Sometimes

not. My father, the poet, is a gentle-


man. The wet stain of trees against his

fingertips. He knits flesh in his hands.

I think of my father as a young man. Doing research

for his doctoral thesis. Traveling from

archive to archive. I think of my own journey.

Journey into the centre of this summer.

Then I am sad and I think to myself is


this the last summer that we’ll spend together

as father-daughter. This thin sea in my hands.


The tide in my hands. The current

telling me to step back from the strange, silent sunshine

of the day. There are glass fragments

in my heart and evening swallows, a

Chinese dragon breathing fire, and

I’m turning the page. I’m turning the page.


I give up this day to the rain. I am

standing on a diving board. I am standing on a diving board but nothing

feels real to me. I think of J.’s guitar. I think of S. and her frail deeds.

Her wheelchair. I think of water. The radio

which has become so sacred to us. Leftovers.

M on social media. Antelope that linger.






Abigail George

Pushcart Prize nominee Abigail George is a South African-based blogger, essayist, poet and short story writer. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School followed by a stint at a production company in Johannesburg. She has received two writing grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, one from the Centre for the Book in Cape Town, and another from ECPACC in East London. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Aerodrome,Africanwriter.com, Bluepepper, Dying Dahlia Review, ELJ, Entropy, Fourth and Sycamore, Gnarled Oak,Hackwriters.com, Itch, LitNet, Mortar Magazine, Off the Coast, Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, Piker Press, Praxis Magazine Online, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Spontaneity, The New York Review, and Vigil Pub Mag. She has been published in various anthologies, numerous times in print in South Africa, and online in zines based in Australia, Canada, Finland, India, Ireland, the UK, the United States, across Africa from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

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