She said there was a boy in the box
for Daphne du Maurier
And I fell hard for her black type scrolling,
rolling out the sword, the death of romance:
swashbuckling in drag, the English aristocracy
fucks a French pirate; a marriage shot down
by a woman’s rejection of manor and men.
Her accidental heroines, who mix
their fears with whisky and press on—
I have seen her shining in them, a heart-
glow bright between the slats of the trunk
where part of her was hidden. Now and then,
the boy uncurling: coaxed by ink and typewriter
ribbons, to splash saltwater words against their skin.
(20th century suspense/romance author Daphne du Maurier reportedly saw her personality as both male and female, and believed the masculine side she kept secret from others enabled her to write the way she did.)
Kate Garrett is managing editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, and Lonesome October Lit. Her writing appears here and there, and her latest pamphlet, You've never seen a doomsday like it, was published by Indigo Dreams in June 2017. She grew up in rural southern Ohio, but moved to the UK in 1999 - where she still lives happily in Sheffield with her husband, 4.5 children and a sleepy cat.
First published on 10/11/2015
I loved you once in silence
Dressed in charity shop velvet,
the girl steadies her hands,
places her right palm beneath
her ribs to guide the notes
up the escape hatch of her throat.
The sounds are her confession –
her teacher says that art
is the control of raw expression.
She stands in this grey church,
and releases the song. Six months ago
she was seventeen; how could she know
about lies and love? You’re gifted, they say,
deaf to her double bluff. Her smile
distracts them, while she remembers
last month, and a door slammed
in the face of the boy who sent her clichés,
by the man who said he loved her,
but she should never tell.
*‘I Loved You Once in Silence’ refers to a song from the musical Camelot, concerning the love affair between Guinevere and Lancelot. It was also first published in Kate's pamphlet "The names of things unseen", as part of the six-poets-in-one collection Caboodle from Prolebooks (2015).