There is a history of water in the passage into Bethelsdorp. Cracks showing through in the system, and the pathways. Healthy fiction. As healthy as pomegranates. Troubled life. Bleeding fruit. Cement. Diary of Salt Lake. You will find myths of beloveds there. Roses. Stars. Their mothers hover as if there is some kind of suffering there, and as if the suffering has a numbed womb across the seas threshold.
Do you know that the qualities of a honeyed honed crystalline grief are those of an assassin? Life in the Northern Africa that says you ‘must live by the quotes of dead poets’. Quotes of luminous cores of white teeth. Houses should have dogs. You should talk to them. Walk with them. You will relive childhood.
Dust flows like poetry. I am inside of me. Inside my head. No one was as sheltered as I was. Through the veil of the sun. Its yolk an oyster shell. No one was as shattered as I was. A shroud gathers moths. In the clearing once there was a sea of trees. I found Japan there. Hiroshima. That is the trouble with life. Holding onto broken things, and not doing away with them.
While I read Keats rain poured down, and then the sun. Rain has damaged us somewhat this winter. We thought it would on forever. The flood. We have stayed indoors long. Clouds of piety greet the morning. Gets me thinking about war. Let us butterfly the lamb. Sunday’s roast glitters. Mother plates. My mother still wears pearls. Still we wear our shrouds.
There is a history of rain out there somewhere too. I lie down in the afternoon heat in the hotel room. My father sleeps. My mother sleeps. My brother, and my sister sleep too. The air is thick and heavy. My hands are sticky. The white hotel sheets are cool. I have an aftertaste of lukewarm soda in my mouth. White children slide down a slide, and play at the swings. I want something exotic.
Fruit found in far off hotels. On the shores of islands where you find waterfalls. Orchids in your room next to the complimentary fruit basket. Their names can be difficult to pronounce.
I want to forget about Pan. The boy that never grew up. The crocodile that is king. Ticking around the world.
I want to be in the desert. In the Mojave Desert when night falls amongst the coyotes, the brush and the snakes. I want to talk to a shaman disguised as a motel cleaner. Where are all the tigers? They are locked inside the zoo. I look for clues to personal success in paintings. Listen for it in classical music. It is cold out here. The centre of winter.
Keys are a good way to let yourself in whether it is a suitcase or a door. I thought of the dancing princesses in a book I read. How badly I wanted that life. I went away in my sleep
that night as I did every night. My sheets the Shroud of Turin. The neighbour had come in
the end with his son and they managed to jimmy the lock.
I hope this gets through to you. A wreck I have managed. Tangled in a web of cages. Doves fly through whimsical me. They fly through me with an art second to none until I am a cartoon. The milk carton. The riot of the sun. Electrons and particles. Atoms and fragments. Swaziland’s atoms and fragments. They were all different.
Sky would meet a bird’s feet. Their wings shell casings were different. Inside and out. My aunt was still alive then but this was years ago. I drank out of the milk carton, and the riot of the sun shone right through me. My eyes felt very bright. The milk was very cold, and sweet. It made me feel in control in a way.
I drank to make the fear go away. When they were not looking. Cold as winter it was. We did not see the ‘burning bush’. My aunt was not quiet trouble. Although it was coming. Down the mountain, the valleys. Another time. Another place. Johannesburg. I can smell the rain coming. The air moves within me.
I do believe in many things now that I was innocent of as a child. Clinical trials. Case studies. Kidneys, and biopsies. Words like abstract metaphor, and personification. I do believe in alliteration. They turn my head. My second mother well, I wish she were still here. She is not here. She is pushing up daisies.
She is six feet under, and all I think of is dirt. All I can muster up to think of is the French toast and sandwiches she made me. When I came from Swaziland I thought that perhaps one day I would teach English. I would leave behind my bizarre love affair with Africa, my love for the sea, and just to get away from it all, go to London like my father, and Naomi Wolf.
You will survive me. If we survive. We all think that we are alone. We buy each other gifts
on our birthdays and at Christmas. At Easter we exchange hollow chocolate eggs. The arrangement of light and goodwill blinds us. Our aloneness well, it becomes a mantra. We feed off and on, and on its gift.
We sketch breakfasts. The wilderness histories of it all. The golden butter and toast of it all. Omelettes and French toast. Eggs and bacon. We all take turns. Meal preparation turns into something epic. More is more. Eating and creation is a gift. Every child given a chore. One makes the salads.
Another daughter peels the onions. Scrubs potatoes. Recipes are taken out of context. The baby of the family makes the dessert. Blueberry cheesecake made from scratch. The kitchen table, counter tops turn into chicken skins and peels. Basketfuls of fruit. Green apples. Daddy is diabetic.
They are for him to snack on. In case, he gets hungry. We have survived each other. Even hurts have deaths. Blood is thicker than water. If we were empty vessels we would be able to bang our heads together like coconuts.
Abigail George's fiction was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She