Poetry from Abigail George

Signs of the wise Marie Curie’s gentle brilliance
(for my parents, Gerda and Ambrose Senior)

This is not a suicide note to remind the cruel world
about me, about my name. The boy with the dark
hair has already moved on with his life and forgotten
all about me, and oh, did I forget to say that nobody
loves me, that I’m a gifted stranger to most boys, and

mostly men, older men, with beautiful wives and them
children, their children. And of course, because of
my endometriosis I cannot have children. Love me,
I’m difficult. Hate me, I’ll submit. I’ll do your bidding.
The bathwater is cold, but I wash his back in circles.
I promise I’ll only talk about the abuse if you’re bad

to me. I’m some kind of chef too. I keep marking time,
score after score after score, drawing up lists, ingredients,
because life is an adventure, and I’m lovesick and all
alone. If you give me all your affection and support,
I promise I’ll keep my distance, and I promise I won’t

make a scene, or talk about my auditory hallucinations.
All you have to do is bake half-truths, tell me ochre, that
you’re fond of me, that you love me, that you’ll go
quietly, and then I won’t speak about death to you, won’t
speak about death, not wanting to live quietly-cute.
You are in my blood, and I am in your blood. I sigh,

I cry, I’ll watch you leave, I’ll watch you say goodbye.
You’re gone, you’re gone, some kind of unkind, gone.
You are body and mind and mine and nothing short
of a walking and talking and armed miracle, you
have my heart, you have my brilliant, brilliant heart.

Now we don’t write and we don’t even talk. Now we
have absolutely nothing to say to each other. Once we
were lovers, once we were friends, and sometimes,
just sometimes I used to say to you, “Let’s get married.”
You always thought I was wise, sweet and innocent.
Always told me that you weren’t the marrying kind.

The origins of the X-men, leaf falls to the ground, and symbols of
radical feminism
(for my parents, Gerda and Ambrose Senior)

Most people live in between the married and the
single life. I want death. I want life. I want my life
to be celebrated in death. I just expected you to
say something else. I am life. I am death. I am a
solitary figure, staggering to reach you if you’d let
me. You don’t call me on the telephone, and even
though it is raining men I don’t admit addiction.
I want to be free, and that is all a single woman wants
is to be free, independent, acknowledged, loved,

but it is impossible for you to love the public me,
all the administration of me, my cruel and cool
and bewitching persona. I’d probably love you, if
you’d let me. I dream of a dream house of love, a
family and children, and I’d dream I’d be a wife, and
a lover, and mother, that’s what I’ve dreamed since
childhood. You’re perfect, and I’m imperfect,
and you’re lovely, but my approach is a family affair.

I’m a scorekeeper, but unloved. You keep all your
passion for your girlfriend like when you eat her meat, and
sink your teeth into her cooking, and her heart,
and bare wrists, and ankles, and dark hair, and her
all positive, positively-loving, her positive-outlook
on life, I say I’ll take you there, but you don’t care
because you have it made with your it-girl, feeling-
girl, and she makes eye-contact with your mother
when you say my name in their presence, and they

roll their eyes heavenward, and I’m a joke. I get that.
I understand that. That you’re not mine anymore.
You’re too comfortable, and I’m an emotional slob.
I don’t want to drag you down. I want to uplift you.
I’m too late, that’s all. And filled with half-truths
and dark thoughts of cave-dwellings, but you
know me better than I know myself. That suicide
is on my mind again, that I’m lovesick, and after you
to save me. The atmosphere here is of a wedding.

On mourning, the paralysis, the gift and curse of grief
(for my parents, Gerda and Ambrose Senior)

I’m lost, lost, I’m lost, I confess. In a minute I’ll be gone. In another
minute I’ll belong to the past, escape the present. I’ll be stripped
bare. I’m a stranger to man, and I’m a stranger to woman, and all
I’ve ever wanted was to be in your arms, and be loved forever. But,
this relationship, or whatever it is, or was belongs to the past, and
I’ll count myself forever holy amongst the stars, and the passing of
time, and the illustration of dust, and the interpretation of prayer.
And all I ever wanted was you, dear boy, dear man, dear finite space,
and biological gap, and psychological warfare, and a wish bone to
lead me home, and universal sanctuary, and a university degree, and
a high school diploma, and now, and now I have none of these
trivia, none of these things that makes the woman, that marks the
career woman. And I have a mother, but she abandoned me at birth
because my father loved me more, and my sister despises me, and
my illness, my disease, my Christianity, my radical feminism, and
most of all me. I’m an extra, I’m a starlet-harlot, I’m a monkey who
does not want to behave, but I’ll only behave in your arms, except
that position is filled. It is nearly midnight, nearly turning-point when
I’m near-death, near-life, and in death I’ll be extraordinary and in
life I’ll be extra-ordinary. And if I ever get married, I promise to
submit, I promise to obey, I promise to love in sickness and in health.
I am in a tunnel fast approaching another bright light, another
nervous breakdown, and was I really so difficult, so different to love,
and you tell me in a thousand different ways of how much I’m
impossible to love, and the hallucinations,
and the insomnia leave me bleary-
eyed, and I look you straight in the eye, I want to try and make
eye-contact with you, but you look away because you love another,
and I don’t binge-drink anymore, I’m no criminal mastermind,
fuck my intelligence, I’ve never slept with a married man, I’ve never
fallen for a woman, and even though I feel as if I’m a statistic, you
don’t, you don’t, you don’t love me anymore and I find it all so
difficult to be on my own, and I can’t bear the loneliness, I can’t
face you with another woman on your arm, and you say I look
like your daughter, and then I find it difficult to breathe, to look
away, because all I’ve ever wanted was you, and you tell your
secretary to tell me to fuck off and leave you alone. You’re work,
and I love your superstar personality, you were my sweet escape,
once my sweet embrace, and now because of the Sylvia Plath-
effect you want nothing to do with me, because of the mania and
the euphoric-high, because of the unstoppably catastrophic blue-
depression I guess I’m no good for anyone, but especially for you.
I’m a saint walking on water, I am Saul of Tarsus, I am Paul on
cocaine on the road to Damascus. I am the finite apostle glowing.
I’m swimming, my body like velvet, head above water rooting
for all daughters, and then drowning. Body-surfing, and then
head sinking beneath the vibrations of the waves, drowning again.
You have genie-daughters, while I have none. The lunar-phases
of endometriosis saw to my infertility. I have had orphan-abandonment
issues in the past. You have had abandonment issues in the past.
We’re both orphans. That’s the one thing that we have in common.
I can’t bear the rhetoric, the dogma, you can’t bear the church.
We should be lit in love, life-falling for each other but we’re not.