I have to work in the morning. Mom
has to take it from me at 2 am
because I want to shake it until it shuts up.
I don’t even want it.
It’s a mistake I can’t erase.
— From “Late/1979”
From the legend of an acolyte of Joan of Arc, the shadow of Edith Sitwell and Yorkshire’s own Mother Shipton all the way to the seats of a brown Camaro with Fleetwood Mac blaring, this collection of narratives from Garrett looks just to the left of normality. As the poet herself says, ‘Everyone’s clarity comes in a different package’.
There are essential lessons in this particular package. Stark lessons. Our narrator remembers watching someone’s mam fling trainers into the grate, ‘But still they burned’. Some ask us how many beats our hearts have left. Others just cut to the core of all our fears, to the ‘kelp-nest of wires’ as her fifth born slumbers ‘tiny and certain’.
But the collection really hits its stride with ‘Late/1979’ an expertly crafted, soft-slow heartbreaker. From here on in you’ll feel Garrett’s fingers caress, push and slowly move apart the pieces of your heart.
This is one saint worthy of worship.