By Kate Garrett
Once more with feeling
I’m exactly where they expect
me to be, but hope I’m not.
Alone inside the glass at quarter
past midnight, I turn to the creaking of the door.
The others push her into darkness,
I hear giggles, gasps, see a torch burning cold.
I’m the bad news they wouldn’t want
for themselves, but don’t mind telling.
Inevitably, they call me Mary, the only name
left of the many. I stare at the girl, who gazes
into her painted reflection, eyes big and blue.
She’s a plastic doll. They don’t make children
like they used to. She utters
two words, six times, stops, lip twitching.
My own face has been hidden for years, stuck in here.
Say them, I whisper, once more is all it takes.
[‘Once more with feeling’ was previously published in The names of things unseen in Caboodle, Prolebooks, 2015; Three Drops from a Cauldron, April 2015; forthcoming in Blood Moon Rising, January 2016.]
Kate Garrett on ‘Once More With Feeling’:
‘Once more with feeling’ is a version of the Bloody Mary folklore from the United States, where young girls say “Bloody Mary” a number of times (the exact number varies) into a mirror in a dark room. I wanted to show the situation from “Mary’s” perspective – she is trapped in a mirror, she wants to get out, rather than maim or kill. But belief in her is tenuous in modern times, so she hopes perhaps this child would be the one to allow her escape.
About Kate Garrett:
Kate Garrett writes and edits. She is a senior editor at Pankhearst, and the founding editor of the myths/legends/fairytales/folklore-based Three Drops Press, home of the webzine Three Drops from a Cauldron. Her work can be found online and in print, most recently in Up the Staircase Quarterly, After the Pause, Clear Poetry, and The Jawline Review. Her latest pamphlet, The Density of Salt, is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2016. She lives in Sheffield, UK.
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