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I had an aunt who lived in Englefield Green.

Her husband owned a small stuffed alligator.

I stayed with them while my mother had my sister.

My aunt gave me a plastic doll from a cracker.

Most days we made doll’s clothes from felt.

We sewed poppers on to fasten the parts together.


From time to time, I was allowed to examine the alligator.

It had rows of preserved teeth, like a sharp, bone zip.

My aunt had an electric sewing machine and could hem.

Sometimes, when I woke, there’d be a new doll’s dress.

At others, we’d work together to produce two-part outfits.

When my parents returned, the doll had a full wardrobe.


The alligator still sat on my uncle’s wooden desk.

Its small glass eye reflected something close to envy.

copyright © 2015 Simon Williams.

First appeared in Emma Press Anthology of Aunts, 2017



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