Poetry Showcase June 2022: Kate Garrett

“A sin-eater refuses, Twice upon a time” and “February” are all from Kate’s collection Sunward/Moonwise (Impspired, June 2021)

https://kategarrettwrites.bigcartel.com/ https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1914130219

A sin-eater refuses

He wanted the transference 
a scapegoat for the nights 
he spent flitting between hotel 

rooms and he wanted it easier 
than a sorry and a change 
of ways, but it couldn’t 

be me: the bread and wine 
thrown back into his grave 
my own soul washed clean 

of the last of him. He’s 
been left to bargain with gods 
like the rest of us.

Twice upon a time


He looks different in the glare of North American sunshine: sunglasses cover half his thin face; shorts he’d never wear in London grace his legs. Imagine running into someone half a world away like this, he said. We haven’t seen each other in months – no longer work in the same shop, move in the same circles, live in the same borough. But here we are on a hot morning in June, on a pavement twice as wide as the ones back home, buildings three times as tall surrounding us, the sky wide in spite of them – two tourists among thousands, an unexpected meeting. He’s going to the Empire State Building today, he says. I’m on my way to Central Park with a local friend. We part ways amazed at what life can throw at you. 


It’s chilly and the sun and rain perform their common September dance. A friend is visiting from Portugal; she has never been to England before now – we greet each other and the day, but New York is under a cloud of smoke. No one has details. The Two Towers are falling down, and so are the people inside them. My friend and I can’t settle indoors. We catch a bus to Bromley, try to find solace in the lower floors of a bookstore. Everyone is talking about it, the planes, the buildings, the deaths on film. And there he is again – the boy I ran into in Manhattan over the summer. I didn’t know he worked here, where he’d gone, and here under the fluorescent shop lights he looks familiar once more. We were only there two months ago, he says. Not even that, I say. After today I will never see him again.


In the old days I was reading Marx in endless twilight fields, in barbed wire woods where our horses roamed between the trees. Maybe we passed each other yards apart like dreams. I’d have disappeared if I could, all those thousands of miles away wrapped up in paperwork no stronger than spiderwebs, turned out again with smiles and apologies. 

I listened to the same E-minor song over and over again in the night-time of my room, and I never thought February would ever be anything other than a dare – the next year, kissing boys I didn’t know; the next year, wearing flip flops in the snow, arguing with evangelical youth about nudity and art, swearing in the theatre, neither winning nor losing but moving on. 

The next year, Kerouac and Ginsberg, then New Order through someone else’s headphones on a school bus to nowhere memorable, and three Februarys after that, New Order on a stereo after I’d been on the swings in a deserted London playground in the rain. I thought I was in love. 

Three years after that I was pregnant and living in one bedroom, working in a pub up north. I thought I was happy. I thought I could be happy in February. 

Six years after that I couldn’t imagine being happy in February. Sometimes in other months, but not in August or November, months when I’d taken on the mantle of someone else’s grief, and I remembered the discussion of martyrs in Salem in a long-ago February. 

Twenty-three years after that I forgot to be depressed in February. I read a thriller full of triggers and nothing happened. The woods didn’t swallow me up with the horses and the sticky fence didn’t catch my clothes. I looked for snowdrops with my daughters. We smiled at the sky. I listened to the E-minor song, remembered to live – as it tried to tell me all along.

Bio: Kate Garrett is a writer with witchy ways and a significant folklore, history, and horror obsession. Her work is widely published online and in print. Her most recent books are the historical, time-hopping verse novella Hart & Ha'penny (TwistiT Press, March 2021) and the full-length poetry collection Sunward/Moonwise (Impspired, June 2021). Born and raised in rural southern Ohio, USA, Kate moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives now - in Shropshire with her husband, five children, and an assortment of land and water creatures. Find her on Instagram @thefolklorefaery, Twitter @folklore_faery, and her website www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk 

Poetry Showcase from Wolfpack Contributor Kate Garrett

"Kate Garrett's poems are a doorway into a world of strangeness and magic that shimmers with the possibility of something just beyond the human eye." - Steve Nash

"(Kate Garrett is) a magical pixie of the poetry world." - Zoe Mitchell