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Mine by Holly Magill

Fifteen tubes of pastel, tooth-rot happiness
tumbled from pink palms to the counter in Spar.
The older girl smirked, counted
my 10p pieces like a slow handclap.

Home, I’d unpeel each packet, scoff and crunch,
mouth all fizzy. But hoard the pale purples
– the sweetest, the prettiest – 
in a sandwich bag, back of the wardrobe.
I could be a mean girl too, didn’t want to share.

He never knew about them, nor did she,
or the people they worked with, or the neighbours,
or teachers, or the dinner ladies, or the girls
who weren’t my best friends, or the girls I wished were.


Now I am taller, a bit, and remain a mean girl
– not the sweetest, not the prettiest – 
and no one can make me, no one can force.

Some never stop trying, tell me how much
they want this sharing. I know

how hungry they are – jaws spasm to bite down
on any shred screeing off flimsy partition walls,
mouths wet for pavement-scrapings.
Half-chewed half-truths
– not the sweetest, not the prettiest –

just glitter-grit candy sun
to baste a new conservatory much nicer than next door’s.


Curtains pulled against glare,
I turn up Madonna’s Immaculate Collection,
groove with wooden spoons, let the wardrobe spill:

too-high shoes, perfume, scarves, satin knickers,
your all-time favourite Thornton’s chocolate bars.
The carpet tides with colours and kitsch

– these the sweetest, these the prettiest.

This is beauty. This confection is only mine.


Holly Magill’s poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, including The Interpreter’s House, Bare Fiction, and Under The Radar, and anthologies –Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology (Fair Acre Press). She won first prize in the 2019 Cannon Poets ‘sonnet or Not’ competition. She co-edits Atrium – Her debut pamphlet, The Becoming of Lady Flambé, is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing. Twitter: @HollyannePoet 


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