Prom Date

One phone call was all it took.
The face in the mirror still looks like her
but nothing in that reflection feels familiar,
not the mouth, not the eyes,
and especially not
the chest in its play bra
or the hair toppling to her shoulders.

With just a nervous voice
on the other end of the line as a guide,
it is clear what she must do
though there's been little clarity before this.
What she's always been is clearly impossible.
Reinvention is called for.

She's uncertain how she got to this point.
All of the choices seemed to be made by others.
But she knows she must leave their creation
in the room with the china doll on the bed,
the boy band posters
taped to walls and door.
She must abandon everything she's ever been,
create and keep on creating,
become who she needs to be
without another's signature on the blueprint.

One invitation and
she crawls awkwardly
into a vast blankness
and then is surprised with how easily
she can fill in every detail.
Some lipstick here.
Some blush there.
And a slowly awakening attitude.

Is this the same girl who played hopscotch
on the concrete path for hours on end?
Who figured every male but her father
was nothing but a slobbering swamp of germs?
From now on,
these are my questions,
not hers.


Prom Date

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly.
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