Off to Prom We Go

By: Peggy Yin

I tried on a mermaid dress the other day, and waddled two steps before stripping it off;

I saw how it snagged on my hips and clutched at my chest,

the same way I gripped the towels we tripped in so many years ago—

our hair, stringy and streaming from the community pool

while parents shouted warnings behind us.

It was the first time I felt so conscious of my choices,

scraping our bare skin on wet cement, and later

howling as alcohol rubbed those stone splinters loose

those sticky pearls, still clad in our chlorine

as Beauty was born from the sea.

Then I freed the bodice from my breasts and it billowed

down, cresting the curves of my calves as I

tumbled, top-first, to the tulle at my

toes. I still carry

bumps that rise like molehills from my knees

and our painless flight in my laughter.