Ode to my Mother


There is a dwelling that I exist in. This far out between heaven and hell she is, my mother is still beautiful. She was beautiful, and relevant in away that I was not. Manuscripts erode all around me but she is innocent, still beautiful. Lovely. She is earth now. I’m average. I can’t helpit. I’m so basic at everything. I’m a still life next to her grave tears pouring out of me like there’s no tomorrow. No future or anything. I name her ‘water’. I name her ‘anything that is worthy of possession’. This far out she’s salt, light, cream, if I can help it the last city, the last blue country. A fragment of paradise ripped from the seats of the Opera House of Port Elizabeth, infestation, life. She is a Sunday morning after church. I thirst for her mouth. Her beautiful hands. Hair like silk down her back. She is Peter Pan chasing stars, and what this poem is, is not a poem about a river on becoming the sea. The reflection in the mirror is as unstable as electricity.

I wonder to myself just who does she think she is.I am wary of her.Of what she is capable of doing.You are living.I am dead. You’re warm.I’m cold through.I don’t know how to keep the regime under control. You’re unfinished. Tiger, you speak to me in tongues. These are dangerous times that we’reliving in, you say. You are joy, Yes, you are.You come in that stellar version. While I’m a field covered with the fabric of stars, and starlight. I do not know how to love you back. I see you in this photograph. You have lost all your hair to the chemotherapy, you’re wearing a wig, but you still look hot, and breathless, as exotic as a French woman’s beauty. Of course, you lose the battle for your own sanity. Father, the love of your life has lost his own struggle. It snows in winter-time in Johannesburg, and every time it snows, I think of you, every recovery, every relapse, summer, I think of all the people I’ve lost. That are never coming back to me, that are priceless, and free. Pain is such a waste. And, so, I wake up, look, dress, and live my life, also free.

The magnolia of nerve, now that is exactly what I need. A novel sense of adventure. I’ll never say that I love you again, and I will never even think it. I have cut it to shreds with the kitchen scissors. My mother does not love me, neither does my father, sister, and brother. Only strangers live for me. Live to love me as sister, daughter and vulnerable orphan. Someone far away is crying in the natural, but they are praying in the supernatural. I dedicated this poem to my art, to my daughters, to my sons. I see them all in rainbows, walking alone, by the sea, in the sun, and I have found the cure for loneliness and death, I am selling both. Cut to Radiohead. Cut to the memory police, cut to the absolute vertigo of desire, cut to tenderness, and tenderly, and tender eyes. Never forget where you came from Hercules, never forget your roots Homer, and so the men walked away, danced away from the reach of my arms, and inside I felt like dying, I could feel them ignoring me, the loneliness of the situation, conflict, and ignorance, and in my pain, I turned to writing poetry instead. Poems saved me from the lonely tears, from the paradise they once promised me.You see, pain is never wasted. All the men were in the end were narcissists in bloom. I think of the roots of my grief stemming from art, and father, and this is how I will get over all of you. I will write, I will fall in love again, I will teach, I will workshop poems,I’ll listen to Radiohead. Cut to the Bessie Head-generation, the Harlem Renaissance, the nocturnal sight of me writing my heart out, using my pen asa sword, and my sword as a pen. I’ll be valiant like wildflowers, and so this heart will be restored like flame, and the anatomy of rooms will belong to me.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.


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