two poems

by Kate Garrett

alphabet of flowers

unearth a story in this garden – a sundown walk
along the overgrown path, where centipedes hide

scribbling twenty times the lines we could manage
with two sad hands. here is foxglove to stop hearts

and twist guts; a letter addressed to lords-and-ladies
who took your breath straight from your lungs, sealed

your throat. what tale have you wandered into, while
bats sleep and dream of midnight moments to come?

hogweed leers far above your head, preparing blisters
for your skin, amazed you’ve come exploring willingly

beside it. you want the very worst but still your ribcage
holds a shivering sparrow, watched by eyeless petalled

faces, gripped by words they drip into your skull by
some chlorophyll telepathy: ours. you. hunger. decay.

teeth. love. soul. soil. the path narrows, the garden
widens. you walk on feet. on knees. you crawl.

happy, happy they in hell

each one of you surfaces with a job to do – find a spot
where the airwaves become a doorway, dance out
into side streets and beer gardens like you belong

here. you slide through as cigarette smoke, fumes

from broken bourbon bottles. you stand up into a
new body wearing denim, flannel, leather. earth
is hell put on backwards; you turn to the sea, search

for fires and lightning. there are no gasps or squeaks
at a glimpse of beaks and rippling arms beneath
holographic glamours. not one human sees the beast

sent to test them. they’re eager to follow you home.

Kate Garrett is a writer and mum of five with a significant folklore, history, and horror obsession. She is the Magical Editor of Mookychick magazine, and her own writing is widely published. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Born and raised in rural southern Ohio, Kate moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives, currently in an off-duty Welsh-border vicarage.