pageant queen wants you to know
that it's a scholarship contest, to blind you with swarovski crystals so you don't notice that the application
requires a tan instead of a transcript.
pageant queen wants to bury you in the tulle and pleats until you believe
that she's whole inside her ball gown,
even though you've already watched
the spotlight skim her scars.
pageant queen refuses to believe that she paints her face with sexism,
refuses to believe that she curls her hair
with an ableist wand, refuses to believe
that her crown is glittering with prejudice--
refuses to call herself a title with "beauty"
at the beginning, but laments that she's
not pretty enough to win the biggest prize.
M.P. Armstrong is a student at Kent State University studying English and United States history. A native of Warren, Ohio, they enjoy traveling, board games, and brightly colored blazers. Work published or forthcoming in Neon Mariposa Magazine, Riggwelter, Thimble Literary Magazine, and others. Find them online @mpawrites and at mpawrites.wixsite.com/website.