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