Poetry: Advent

My not-quite pilgrimage: the train, the tube

cutting the city southeast to northwest –

a husband or a chaperone, scared to send

me out alone because I was still young. I

might have fun without him. I might fall

for a girl my own age (she was tall, looked

like Kate Winslet and invited me to her flat

to drink and chat), run away with her, study

something useful at university, write more

terrible stories. Instead there I sat with men

ten, twenty years ahead of me, reading sad

headlines until the train pulled into Charing

Cross: Kirsty MacColl dies. Lost to a coral sea

half the world away; it was almost Christmas,

you could hear her singing everywhere. We

made our way to a hollow church where my

pulse shifted to suit the tabor, to meet Chaucer’s

English. I heard the rhythm every day, far beneath

the asphalt where an ancient London slept –

but that night it blinked in the choral candlelight,

breathed a memory, then settled under beloved

ghosts of Decembers past, present, yet to come.

Kate Garrett is a writer with witchy ways and a significant folklore, history, and horror obsession. Her work is widely published - most recently or forthcoming in Dreich, Fragmented Voices, Riggwelter, Frost Zone Zine, and The Spectre Review - and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and longlisted for a Saboteur Award. Her next book, a time-hopping verse novella called Hart & Ha'penny, will be published by TwistiT Press in March 2021. Kate lives on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and a sleepy cat. Find her on her website www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk, or on Instagram @thefolklorefaery.