Deathbeds are hotbeds of apologies
and promises, hollow as arrow shafts.
It’s years since I crossed the water
with him, since I gambled with the poison
in his blood. This new map shows a junction
and he says it means he’s sorry, but it
had to happen to me. The others
were practice runs, thin reminders,
but I was his destiny. It means the pain will
stay on for years like bad weather in a puncture
wound, and it will be worth it. It means I hated
loving him, but can’t change the story, though my
eyes were desert dry when she told me he was
dead. It means the sky thinks it knows best, leads
the way—takes over while we’re staring at our feet.
I’ve never seen Charing Cross sober at night
Blurred from where I stood on the red bus,
the shopfronts sounded like the tangle
of major and minor in the intro of a song,
and he said through a slur of lager that I’d
been there far too long,
as if city living had a sell-by date
and my time was nearly up.
He always made it sound like time was nearly up--
I never knew where we were going but every
time it involved eating chips on the train. Once
I popped into a piercing parlour in not-quite Camden:
I was running low on holes
and the dive bar windows reflected
fluorescence, made the rain shine.
Europa meets Zeus after the Peter Murphy concert
She’s in the foyer laughing
with her friends, in her high
leather boots, iridescent skin.
His is an old decadence veiled
under white shirt, leather jacket,
a smile positioned just right--
but his scent of tobacco and honey,
slips around her, sweetest smoke
in the words he speaks; she’s a goddess--
and he’s in luck: she leans closer to listen,
a curve pushed through a velvet dress,
warming the flesh under his sleeve.
Walking together after the show
she kisses his jaw with magenta lips
and considers how she will convince
him to carry her from here.
Bio: Kate Garrett is the managing editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, and Lonesome October Lit. Her own writing appears here and there, and she is the author of several pamphlets, most recently You've never seen a doomsday like it (Indigo Dreams, 2017), and Losing interest in the sound of petrichor (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2018). Kate was born and raised in rural southern Ohio, but moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives in Sheffield with her husband, five children, and a sleepy cat.
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