Bewitched is a Kindle single, published by the writing collective Pankhearst and is Sheffield Hallam Creative Writing (about to be) graduate Garrett’s first full length publication, although she’s had a number of poems and pieces of flash fiction in a variety of publications. You can read more about those and about Garrett on her website.
Bewitched is the tale of four people in their early twenties – three women and one man – who form a love square or maybe two intersecting love triangles. It’s told in a mixture of prose poems and flash fiction from a number of points of view.
We begin with a third person poem which tells us about Maddie, who always carries a copy of Moll Flanders, and her boyfriend, Dalton, ‘Heathcliff with a quiff’, moving out of London to somewhere further south which is ‘green and blue’. This brings them closer to two other people – Seren, Dalton’s ex-girlfriend, and Niamh, a woman who Maddie is about to meet.
It’s just the one room, stacked above a nightclub with other rooms; we’re matchsticks in our rectangular boxes. The view from the single small window is more windows, their curtains drawn, and the line of blue sky.
It isn’t long though before Maddie and Dalton begin to drift towards other people, although it’s clear their relationship’s far from over:
He think’s I’m done, given up.
I feel it in my gut, but no one
can put their heart down, leave
it for dead while it still beats
inside their chest.
The rest of the piece takes us through their transition, the voice moving between the three women, occasionally in third person, but mostly in first person, allowing us to see circumstances from every angle but Dalton’s. Dalton, who begins as the pivot on which these lives turn, is only allowed to be commented upon or occasionally have his speech reported by one of the women. As Maddie says, ‘He isn’t/the only sound that needs to be heard’.
I loved Bewitched. I’ve read it several times now and it stands up to repeated readings. It’s a pretty perfect rendition of what it feels like to be in that early-twenties transitional phase when you don’t know where you belong and how to find the place that will allow you to fit.
Thanks to Pankhearst for the review copy.