Kate Garrett

In the brown Camaro

I was forever little. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was only five years old, and I was less than, all eyes, dark curls and a half-smile like a pinched bud, unable to bloom even in the bright beams through the open windows. Her holy voice—a lilt of gospel and lullabies—set free to fly behind us on the interstate, my head turned to watch the scent of endless trees melt into the round notes, sharp syllables. Her makeup and her manicure camera-ready. Near the turn of the next decade, her manicurist will also be a gymnastics teacher, and I won’t be asked if I want to tumble and jump like their exotic pet monkey, but I’ll do it anyway. The other girls will wear neon and spandex, new leotards, but I’ll be wearing sweatpants six months too small. It turns out ability is less important than uniform. But now I am little and riding in a glitter-gilded car she will one day sell, I am loving my mother with an openness she slams shut, in a space I can never be pardoned for occupying. Her holy voice a kiss on my cheek as she rolls up her window. Her perfume wraps my shoulders where her arms cannot.

Kate Garrett writes and edits. She is the founding/managing editor of four online journals, including Picaroon Poetry. Her poetry is widely published online and in print, most recently or forthcoming in formercactus, Riggwelter, Anti-Heroin Chic, Atrium, and Burning House Press. Her latest pamphlets are You've never seen a doomsday like it (Indigo Dreams, 2017) and Losing interest in the sound of petrichor (The Black Light Engine Room, 2018). She was born and raised in southern Ohio, but moved to the UK in 1999, where she lives happily/grumpily ever after (depending on the day) in Sheffield with her husband, five children, and a sleepy cat.