This year

I was in a Walgreens

on Christmas Day.

I bought the press on nails,

gold and glittered,

because it brought me back

to moments I never


to remember.

It was prom night

and the limo picked us up.

I had a pimple deep

under the skin of my cheek,

hidden enough.

I wore a yellow dress,

purchased on a trip to NYC

with that guy in the Navy.

(You know, he proposed to me

later that summer.

At least I think he did,

it’s a story I always tell

so it must be true.

It was on a beach

in San Diego

and at the time

it was love,

but I was headed off to college

and turning 18 in a month

and I had the whole world ahead of me,

all the options and possibilities,

so if he actually did propose to me,

I said


At prom,

I was on the edges of the crowd —

even then —

music playing for classmates

clutching waists

and grasping hands

and I was held by my older Navy guy,

our eyes following the way

the sun set,

my dress disappearing

into its rays.

My hands gripped

the silky fabric

and my nails —

my pressed on nails —

just didn’t last

long enough.


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