Two Poems by Meg Eden

Growing up as Helga G Pataki

with my unibrow
& elevated testosterone
& my strange obsession
with that boy in seventh grade
& his perfectly parted hair,
who when asked in theology class
if he would stay home from church
to treat a sick cow or trust God
to heal it, he said trust God,
& how I thought
that was such a godly thing to say—
I carried my tomboyish skater wristbands
& my anger for anything
that might briefly inconvenience me
& my sudden loneliness
in winter,
sitting at the altar
of my computer
with all my fan-fiction pictures
saved to my desktop.
Some nights it seemed
I might never change
or grow out of
this little pink dress.



In the Burger King Line,

Julie ate Orlando Bloom,
and Kara cried
until we got our onion rings.

The picture was cheap,
an ink jet print, blurred
from too much folding.

Kara’d kept it
in her wallet since the first
Lord of the Rings movie,

and like every other girl
in seventh grade, swore
she’d marry him

one day—Julie wouldn’t
buy that crap. She swallowed
the paper whole.

We laughed, but Julie
was serious. No more bullshit.
We were almost adults—

soon, we’d carry high school,
college, working lives. No room
for Middle Earth crushes.

I didn’t want to think about this.
I ordered a kid’s meal and assembled
a king’s cardboard crown on my head.

Meg Eden's work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel "Post-High School Reality Quest" is forthcoming from California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Lit. Check out her work at: