I knew there would be trouble
(and I was in no mood for trouble)
when he shadowed me off the tram
and hissed into my ear,
Why are you dressed like that?
Halloween isn’t for months.
Dipping my head, I changed my plan,
and ducked into the service station on the corner,
but he followed and repeated his question
amid the regal gold and red wrappers
of the chocolate aisle.
I’ve been to a convention, I mumbled,
moving to step past.
You look like an idiot, he said.
The cashier watched through the smeared perspex barrier
as I turned my attention to a magazine.
I’ve been lucky enough to locate myself
within a greater narrative; I can’t let go,
and I won’t. There is magic in belonging.
The creep got bored and left;
I went into the restroom. The toilet accepted my fear:
a chunky vomit of popcorn and coke.
I silvered my cloak sleeve with snot and unbidden tears
and tugged on a Hermione curl.
There is magic in belonging.
I tugged my robe straight and flushed the toilet.
As the electronic doors rattled open
there was a knocking on a window.
Turning around, I saw the cashier
holding up a piece of paper:
A rough lightning symbol,
A pair of spectacles
And a love heart
scrawled in black Sharpie.
Behind that, her kind face
giving my cosplay
I’d like to add my congratulations to the chorus of those celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The boy who lived. The series that changed lives and saved lives. And to dear valiant, smart and heroic Hermione – I love you most of all.