I look after children who are not mine, sometimes in the mornings before school. Their moods are like magpies circling the living room – all sharp beak and straight flight. I’ve taken to wearing a bicycle helmet decorated with cable ties, even inside.

Shady Cosgrove is the author of What the Ground Can’t Hold (Picador, 2013) and She Played Elvis (Allen & Unwin, 2009). Her short works have appeared in The Best Australian Stories, Overland, Antipodes, Southerly, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and various Spineless Wonders publications. She teaches creative writing at the University of Wollongong, Australia.

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