Prom Night Memories by
(27 Stories)

Prompted By Prom

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My soulmate/boyfriend/future husband

and father of my future children

worked on me with words

until I willingly released the

traditions of high school to embrace

the rebellion of making different choices.


Despite the Gunny-sax hippy dress that

was the uniform of proms in those days,

that I had shopped with mom and best friend

for hours in the city for;

he knew that mountains, and outdoor living

would call to my heart more clearly

than girl’s fashion, peer pressure boundaries,

that were actually tighter than the

fearful adults’ lines of


And so


My birth control pills

My boyfriend

Our friend since 3rd grade. Griffis

(who would die at age 40, leaving us in shock)

And our dog

went, instead of to the dance, to Griffis’s family cabin

in the High Sierra.


The boys brought fishing poles and tackle

I brought 3 books,

And soon found myself reading,

on a “Day-On-The-Green” blanket,

with the dog bringing me a stick

every few minutes,

on the shore,

banished from the boat with the boys,

because though I can scale and gut and fry- up

and savor

a dead fish,

If I see the struggle to survive in my own eyes

I will plead for the preciousness

of that flashing silver magnificence.

begging for the mercy for the fellow hood of life.

Plus, the dog revealed he was not sea-worthy.


That evening in front of a warm and snapping fire

that lit the whole great room

a delicious yellow-flickering-orange

with stomachs full of fresh fried

hand- caught boy- captured

sun- dappled, graduation -days,

very special trout


we drank tequila, smoked pot

and pretended to play card games

while we laughed and got teary

and told stories, and sang

and were silent in that sweet swept away but

very very present way,

these 2 boys who I had loved since 8 years old.

These 2 boys who I will love until my dying day.


Later, retiring to a 4 poster bed

my love and I explored in a very slow

somewhat drunk

full -of -love space,

the wonders

of this human body’s capacity for pleasure.


It is one of those memories that come back

full sensory, with no inclination

to change or twist or enhance,

with a visceral flow of gratitude

from my forehead to my feet.


Best. Prom. Ever.

Profile photo of January Handl January Handl

Characterizations: moving, right on!, well written


  1. John Zussman says:

    Blew me away! Thanks for sharing this, January.

  2. Suzy says:

    Beautiful poem. It blew me away too.

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    WOW! Such a gorgeous way to describe your alternative-to-prom night. Sensual and visceral and totally engaging. Just beautiful. A real gift.

  4. rosie says:

    I would be willing to stay on this sight to read your work, even if I didn’t write another thing. Love the strength, the integrity and the clash of innocence and loss of innocence that happens at just that age for so many of us. Lovely touching memory.

  5. Susan says:

    Exquisite. Thank you for this lovely gift.

  6. An alternative prom! Wonderful story. If we’re lucky, we make our own families. A gift of your story. Loved this. So beautifully expressed but clearly narrated, enthusiastic word play and so evocative. Thanks!

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