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Prom night number two: code blue
  1. Tamar S Rubin
  1. Correspondence to Ms Tamar S Rubin, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; tamar.rubin{at}

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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.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.