Happy Birthday, Mr President

Madison Square Gardens had never seen a mermaid.
Now, here she was, so far from home she’d never go back.
Stitched into the dress, a cage around her flesh, so tight
there’s no mannequin in all America could fit in.

Served up in sheer silk, studded
with the weight of six thousand diamante stones,
a gauzy tail. More enticing than naked, she looked,
as she sang and blew her angel’s kiss to Mr President.

One spark could have ignited her where she stood,
the dress a confection of flammable fabric.
No-one cared that night as they stitched her in
each pin-tight tack holding her fast. Happy Birthday.

by Angela Topping

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