"Addiction" Contest Winners / September 2016 (Issue 33)


by Meg Eden

Beside his bed, the salary man keeps
a collection of pink panties,
bows and glitter on the elastic band.
Who was their former owner?
A middle school girl, much like
the daughter he might have seen born.
Sniffing the crotch, he imagines
what living thing is building
inside her, like an orchestra—
Inside her lives a surging forest. He
knows this. Certainly, holding the fabric,
her scent begins to grow in him
as well—first in the nose, a flower.
Then the cavity of his mouth. It thickens
on the back of his tongue until
small trees begin to come out of
his ears, a deer inhabits his left
tear duct. He cries, and the deer
leaps down his cheek like a river.
I have never been so full, he says over
and over like a tide that recedes and returns.

 This is a finalist in Cha's "Addiction" Poetry Contest. Meg Eden on "Buru-sera": When I learned about the buru-sera addiction, I tried to understand what the appeal was—and why grown men would find hope and arousal in children’s clothing. So I wrote a poem. When I don’t understand something, when I think something is inhuman or bizarre, I try to write a poem so I can inhabit that perspective briefly–and though I may still find the practice disturbing, I can understand the humanness that invokes and abides in that experience. The word orchestra became a critical turning point for me, as I thought of the Japanese word karaoke, which literally means “empty orchestra.” An orchestra is filled when a voice is added. We are all trying to fill a certain emptiness in us. How we choose to provide that voice for fullness varies.
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