by t. zoEy benally

the first guy asked me to prom the week that it was happening
but fortunately i was tiny and had my pick of the leftover smalls
a 75% off pale pink strapless covered with iridescent lace
my cousin was excited and filled her bath tub with bubbles
and roses, curled my eyelashes and feathered my hair
neither of us knew the exact formulation of gel, mousse
and hair spray that would be required to make it stick
she painted my face, tried to give the illusion to who knows who
that i wasn't really a dusty rez girl with old dancing shoes
he brought a corsage of three carnations, baby's breath
and a burgundy ribbon covering a lavender elastic band
14 year old me, until the moment he presented the corsage
in it's thin plastic case, worried about long pins poking
through flimsy material into skin

the second guy asked me several weeks in advanced
an upper classman who didn't know that i secretly hoped
his lab partner had asked me instead, and unfortunately
i later discovered that he could only declare his undying crush
on me under the cover of night and the influence of alcohol
so i bought a dress from a respected college girl and reformulated
it into something not quite vintage, but totally me
lavender lace and plum satin tiers, and a safety pin
because i hadn't quite mastered the art of alteration
he brought me white roses, bought me dinner--a girl of 15
totally out of place with seniors and juniors, our only
connection was biology class, but i wasn't out of place there
he wasn't a very good dancer, but tried to make it up
by finding a party, but i just fell asleep so he brought me home

the third guy latched onto me at a dance several months before
and wouldn't go away, so i finally just asked him to the prom
my mom hated his black trans-am, so i ended up
going with a girlfriend--i think he would have stood me up
anyway--but i ran into his mom coming home from work
and she said i was beautiful in the silver dress i had created,
i was still learning and didn't realize that i should have taken
a couple of inches off the waist, but she said i was beautiful
16 year old lovely even without a corsage...
and we danced, two girls, and then suddenly he was there
complete with another wrist corsage of red roses, silver ribbons
and we danced, danced until we didn't have a ride home

the fourth guy was my best friend, and my dress fit perfectly
constructed of white satin and black lace, he brought
unexpected blue carnations, white roses, baby's breath
and that totally appropriate elastic band, because, although
he didn't admit it until we were both in our late 20's,
he loved dancing with me

the only pictures that remain of those proms exist in my mind
i see us standing stiffly posed and i remember the spicy
carnation scent, honeyed baby's breath, slick satin ribbons
sticky grip of hairspray and mascara, i see the cheezy props
i remember sliding out of nice shoes after a night of dancing
i can feel scissor metal slice through taffeta, satin, lace and acetate
and i remember the music...


velma said...

awww... that was a cool entry.

hadjare said...


Now I wish I had gone.

I really liked the dress theme - how the dresses got better and more improved as you did.