Prom Dress

Mothers lift them to cherub faces, hot silk
pouring over untouched flesh
suddenly recast “Allure.”
They beam. What parent can resist Venus

springing from her genes? In the choosing
(ivory, poppy, peacock green?) and fitting—
no Julie Andrews, but tight-to-tits elastic,
black, beaded, rhinestones sparking, or Marilyn Monroe

(Mother checks the plunge, approves
of cuts she vowed to forbid, the argument of price null
once Baby’s been transformed)—
Mom is breathless, feminist resolve whipped like cream,

the air in these rooms set to “Intoxicate!”
It must be a hot flash, or why is she prickly,
puffy-eyed? Ridiculous,
it’s just a dance, only eight nine ten fifteen

yards of fabric and who but Mom would care
that the straps sagged just a hair, that the color
was one shade too light, that the darling
had her strapless bra fastened right?

At checkout moms bow over garters,
put it all on time.

© 2002, Christine Kallman, All Rights Reserved

Christine Kallman writes plays, song lyrics, and poems.