If I could do it over, I would — thing is, I wanted this.
Prom, I mean. That’s what the fluttering told me.
He showed up at my house because I couldn’t afford
a dress. He stood in my living room, halo pinned
to his chest, some kind of teenage savior. Teeth, blushes,
and perfect brows. In the car, I rolled the window
down, let the electric wind blow through my hair.
He put his hand on my knee and I felt the thrill
of pinprick all over my skin. I didn’t have a dress,
so we kissed on a picnic bench outside the school gym.
We could hear the DJ and all his slow jams. We danced
underneath the security lights. A hundred monarchs swept
behind my knees, over my head. Now I wonder, little heartbeat,
if this was all part of the plan. Whether it was his plan or yours.
I thought I was the only girl blessed by the fluttering, the promise
of blue skies and life among clouds of delicate wings soaring
through that electric wind. The gym and its echoing slow dances,
so distant and small. Halos are a tiny glitter from this height.
And now, I see I was covered in moths the whole time. Burdened
with want, a relentless journey for the moon or anything like it.
Born and raised in rural Nevada, Rachel Ronquillo Gray is a Kundiman, Pink Door, and VONA fellow. Her work appears in Hyphen Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, Digging Through the Fat, Radar Poetry, and other places. She
currently lives, writes, and makes food in Bloomington, Indiana.