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I never expected I'd go
in a gown.
But there I was, sixty-five years later,
in one that ties up twice
in the back. Baby blue.
My first prom I wore a corset.
My date who became a doctor,
said, “Goodnight, it's been fun,”
when he dropped me off at home,
after a night of vodka and heavy petting.
I married someone else,
and never saw him again.
Take two. This time I went solo.
I didn't spend long
perfecting that waxy yellow hospital gleam
in front of the mirror. I rearranged
the flowers by my bed.
My intractable skin
sagged stubbornly off my jawbone.
The nurses screamed code blue,
The handsome young doctors ran over.
I pretended that this time, my vanity didn't
get the better of me.
When it was done, I was left alone
with only a few wayward flyaways,
my lipstick smudged just as much as you'd expect
after a night of chemical intoxication and heartbreak.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.