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My Prom Dress is Growing Mold in My Mother’s Basement

and she doesn’t know it. She thinks she sealed it away, safe

wrapped in a black trash bag stuffed into a plastic

tote. But the lid got knocked off and moisture leaked

in and the light blue polyester is dotted with black

and gray patches. $75 off the JCPenney clearance

rack for my junior Prom because the full price dresses

were expensive and ugly anyway. I didn’t tell her I

cried in the dressing room 

and wanted the green one instead.


The statue of Mary in her garden has tipped over, the

left hand shattered at the wrist where it hit a cinder block

paving stone. I wonder if my mother knows yet. It’s early spring 

and she hasn’t started tending the flowers, but will 

she see the Holy Mother and prop her up again? For $20

at Walmart, she could buy a new one whose hands are

intact and hasn’t been faded by years of weather. But $20

is $20 and the daylilies 

will hide a missing hand.


Rowan Bagley (they/she) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Not Deer Magazine, an arts and literature magazine focusing on surrealist works by marginalized creators. Their work has been published by or is forthcoming in The West Review, Sandy River Review, Sage Cigarettes, Misplacement Magazine, littledeathlit, Pastel Pastoral, "Duplicitous" Anthology, and "HELL IS REAL" Anthology. She currently lives and works in Vermont with her partner, younger sibling, and two cats.

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