This image of earth and her dalliances
with soil, volcanic rock underground.
Heritage. Tradition. Clowns. The noise of
the city of Johannesburg finds itself
inside of chapters of me. This austral encounter with
the city touches me in a variety of ways.
Wing, a glass of red wine resting in
my hand, the fabric of skin touching
the universality of skin. The circus of
the mind, all the lions and tigers at
war with each other. The night has a
groovy kind of love. The shadows playing
against time, noise, crime, playing for
time, noise and crime. I am woman. You
are man. I am mother. You are son.
My son. Thunder shatters against
the moon as if it knows where its
place in the world is. Evening comes.
Even the leaf is a trap now. A trick
of the light. Every leaf has a different
shadow. Cloud. Clown. The artful dodger hands clapping.
You’re not here, my second mother. Angelic myth.
You’re fairy tale. You’re dust. Dust.
This suffering is a burning field and
so, I write to reach you. To the revealing
ghost of your identity. Your mouth
a guitar. Your fingers a piano. You’re
buried in the hereafter found in the feathers of
my heart. You’re found in another
city. Just as well a far-off distant planet
not unlike the one I’m living on now. Your
voice a violin concerto inside the
painted drum of my head. The veil of
dawn’s light reveals all of milk-fed
future-tomorrow. You promised me the diamonds and pearls
of my maternal grandfather’s harvest.
The world promised me a rose garden.
My biological mother gave me the
world when she gave me a typewriter
in high school. Still I dream of mountains and plan secretly for
dunes. Success. Still I have those goals.
Still I dream of you dark-haired and with a mischievous
glint in your eye. You’re the sun. The sun.
You fed me wild honey and manna.
I am your daughter. I am your daughter, ghost-woman.
Ghost-wife. Ghost-interfering mother. Today you give
me an identity and tomorrow I will do the same for someone
who has the same form that I have.
Pushcart Prize nominee (for her fiction “Wash Away My Sins”) Abigail George is a South African writer of short stories, flash fiction, plays and a poet. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. She is the recipient of two 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. She blogs at