Two Poems by Kate Garrett


for Shirley Jackson

When the moon goes to Pluto’s house

for tea they talk about the haunted.

You sit with them taking notes, waiting.

Such unfortunate women, you among

them, raised to keep Hestia’s hearth—

but some are born lucky, with Hecate’s

heart: spotting evil like a smudge on a lens,

from the corner of your eye, sideways

in suburbia.

Mistaken mother, witch alone, giving us

the shadows in familiar parcels; you never

throw a light on when we let them out.

When the moon is in Pluto’s house,

all those black dogs stop howling

long enough to listen

to your conversation.


We hear her label each of us a slut from her perch – high

and unbalanced on her pedestal stacked with years of rot,

each stone carved with her insults, his betrayals, with the names of those

they crushed, rubble of trust reshaped into slabs for her to build

this weary kingdom. She sits on her plinth insisting we are nothing

but bitches, liars; she can’t own mistakes –

they’re stones in her gut. She resents how we wear ours like art,

striding in style: spiked collars protect our truth; thick-soled boots

smooth the world when we run over the cracks; constellations

of glitter tears springing from the corners of our eyes – we’ve earned

everything we feel. Her legacy is anger in a prism – nowhere to go, reflected,

refracted, snapshots of it embroidered on my liver, stitches loosened

over time by gallons of wine. She always said I’d follow the footsteps of red

women – but the red women have known demons, can cure a wild fever

with a sip of honey. They wrap me in a type of silken kindness, teach me

how to fall gently and rise again like rain, to love like the moon –

whatever she can’t measure out inside her brickdust rooms.


Kate Garrett is the editor of Picaroon Poetry, Three Drops from a Cauldron, and Bonnie’s Crew. Her own poetry is widely published, and she is a contributing writer for Pussy Magic and Rhythm & Bones. She is the author of several chapbooks, most recently Land and Sea and Turning (CWP, 2018), and her first full-length collection, The saint of milk and flames, is forthcoming from Rhythm & Bones Press in April 2019. Born in rural southern Ohio, Kate moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives in Sheffield with her husband, five children, and a sleepy cat. Twitter: @mskateybelle

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