All Summer I Wore

dead girls’ dresses, I wore dresses I found

on the shore, in now-empty homes

I wore the sun

I wore the muddy water that carried my neighbor’s bodies

I wore the boat that rose up to become a mountain

I wore the bodies of beached dolphins

I wore washed up Chinese newspapers

I wore melon crates

I wore a government hand-out blanket

I wore the unclaimed backpack of an elementary school boy

I wore my great grandmother’s lost tablet

I wore the names of my classmates, etched in my arm

I wore altars to washed away gods

I wore a uniform from another city

I wore my father

I wore the smile expected of daughters

I wore the dead girls whose dresses I stole

I wore the kappa I sometimes feel against my ankle,

trying to pull me into the water

I wore driftwood

I wore a new gospel in my shoes

and got dressed for the ocean.

Meg Eden's work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, RHINO and CV2. She teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland. She has five poetry chapbooks, and her novel "Post-High School Reality Quest" is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.