by Christine Nichols

For prom I wore a hoop.
Starchy billows stretched
along a circular tension rod.

Imitation whalebone
whopped and flexed as
I squeezed through the door.

cool air tickled my thighs,
like fireflies
kissing the moon.

I pretended I
really was
that girl.

Later, in the pickup,
it arched between us
like an unneeded
chastity belt.

When we arrived home,
I opened the door
and the hoop spit me out.

I fell off the bench seat and
landed with both hands
on the sharp-edged gravel.

A rocky reminder
there is no Cinderella story
for girls like me.

Copyright 2023 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.