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The Magic Coat

Inspiration can leap out at you any time of the day or night. The floating states just before and after sleep are great creative environments, as are dreams. Top tip: write them straight down if they seem interesting.*

I was inspired to write THE MAGIC COAT while driving to work, thinking about how a tiny piece of magic from childhood can remain when we're all grown up.

*trust me, in the cold light of day chances are they're not!

The Magic Coat

Me, a little girl aged six.

Sifting seconds from richer cousins. Rifling through, while sister May pouts, ‘Nothing fits!’

I offer up a gappy grin.

'More for me then.'

'Try these jeans, this top, those boots,' says Mum, puffing on a fag.

A rag-tag fashion show begins. May laughs through her hand because

my top's on back to front.

Diving into trashy treasure, I catch my breath as flashy red shouts out from under muted grey. May snatches up a scarlet pea coat: fur-trimmed hood and silver buttons. I brim with fiery triumph when the narrow cuffs cut circulation.

Wrapped in silk-lined cherry richness, flushed face twinning crimson wool

and polyester mix.

Mum and May gape as I twirl.

That winter, strangers stop us in the street, remarking on my grace and style. I smile,

serene, from deep within the hooded warmth.


Next winter, howling in frustration because my special coat has shrunk. I plead with Mum to buy another; she shakes her head while sly May smirks.

These days I’ve lost that gap-toothed grin, but when I slick red lipstick on

reflected in my mirror mind—

a six-year-old in her magic coat.

Pen Avey 2022

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