Shuly Cawood

Aguascalientes, 1919
by Shuly Cawood

Who remembers her now with her polka-dotted dress, without sleeves, without any reason why she couldn’t say no when you asked to drive her home from the dance? You didn’t even like to dance but there were so many other reasons to go: the softened, wooden floor gave just enough, the music swelled and slowed, and her strap fell at just the right moment.

In this city you could make anyone believe you danced, even the girl with polka dots, the girl you watched all night with her best friend, Lucita, who frowned in your direction. Lucita had no chance against this cobalt sky, this moon you cut yourself with a silver pocket knife. You gave the girl without sleeves, sin mangas, your name against the cold, and she took it, such open hands waiting for more, the same way she held them wide open later that night in the back seat of the car you borrowed without asking, the way you did everything, promising you would bring it back just the way you found it.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 2.

Shuly Cawood
Shuly Cawood is the author of the memoir, The Going and Goodbye (Platypus Press, 2017). Her creative writing has been published in places such as The Rumpus, Zone 3San Pedro River Review, Prime Number Magazine, and The Louisville Review. She received the 2014 Betty Gabehart Prize, and her website and blog can be found at

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