Kate Garrett

Anne Bonny walks out to sea

 

The salted air no longer stings my cheeks,

just as a skilled carpenter never splinters wood.

This path pushes out, sanded smooth; I reel along

 

it to the shoreline, away from honest, lawful

men who trade another’s neck for silver. I decide

to chance my own for waves, fitted with a mermaid’s

 

tail – trousers hide my landlegs, curls knotted

behind my back, tucked under my hat. I would swing

before I let Jack down, drown before my debt is settled.

 

If only he brought fire from our bed to steam the water’s

edge. He lacks ambition. But he loves me for the way I hold

a gun, the knife wiped clean of blood on my white shirt.

*Anne Bonny was a female pirate of the early 18th century, known for her fierce and violent nature, especially in comparison with her husband.

 

Calico Jack on the scaffold

 

A man is much more than the fabric

of his breeches, the cut of his coat –

 

when boats give up their haul

without a pistol shot

 

those who gather now to see me hang

cheer on with spite alone, jealous

 

of the everflowing drink, the crossed

swords of my colours. We always

 

had plenty, and I’ve no taste for murder,

but I’ll miss the sugared rum upon my tongue.

*Pirate captain John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, common-law husband of Anne Bonny, nicknamed for his clothing and known for being a gentlemanly pirate.

 

Shorn

for Gráinne Ní Mháille

 

The gossips claim there’s power

in her long red locks,

 

but she wants to swing a sword

and feel the earth roll away beneath her feet.

 

‘You’ll meet your death, girl,’ her father

says, ‘those waves of hair will catch

 

in the wheel, in the rigging, and break

your sweet pale neck.’ But there’s no fear

 

in her, our saving grace. She pulls the knife

from its place beneath her cloaks,

 

drags it across the plaited red gold

and meets her fate above the coastal

 

rocks as she drops dead scarlet rope

into the sea: she is less of a girl.

 

She will become our Queen.

*Grace O’Malley, the Irish ‘Pirate Queen’ of the 16th century

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Kate Garrett writes poetry and flash fiction, and edits other people’s poetry and flash fiction. She is the founding editor of the folklore, fairytales, and mythology webzine three drops from a cauldron, and a senior editor at Pankhearst. Her work appears here and there, online and in print. She is the author of three small books, and is a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. In real life she lives in Sheffield, England with her children, a cat, and a folk-musician-poet, and on the web she lives here: www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk.

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Since 2000, The Copperfield Review has been a leading market for historical fiction. Copperfield was named one of the top sites for new writers by Writer's Digest and it is the winner of the Books and Authors Award for Literary Excellence. We publish short historical fiction as well as history-based nonfiction, poetry, reviews, and interviews.
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