An elf cannot return to the otherworld
if they have partaken in human delight--
and one night, near the end of a century
of summers, in a fourth-floor apartment
rented by the boy with the elemental
magick book, the smiling girl to my right
passed me a vessel of water and smoke.
I inhaled the bitter sickly sweet, their time
became like time I knew too well—slowed
down to make room for invocations. I
drifted from the circle with the girl and
stroked her hair and said she was exquisite
like a cat, and she held me round my waist
and laughed before I fell, not to earth,
but the carpet, sprawled, a field of daisies
hoping for the best. She handed me a drink
and said she must have forgotten my secrets.
She never knew them. She didn’t give
any of hers away, but we kissed and talked
until the others appeared, pulled me up, time
to go—but I wanted to stay, I couldn’t get back.
Kate Garrett writes and edits. She is the founding/managing editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, and Bonnie's Crew, and her own work is widely published online and in print. Her latest chapbook, Land and Sea and Turning, will be published by CWP Collective Press in late summer 2018. She was born and raised in southern Ohio, but moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives in Sheffield with her husband, five children, and a sleepy cat.