The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Erika Eckart, is from Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden, released by Press 53 in 2020.

Tohoku Ghost Stories

We remembered the old ghost stories, and we told one
another that there would be many new stories like that.
Personally, I don’t believe in the existence of spirits, but
that’s not the point. If people say they see ghosts, then
that’s fine—we can leave it at that.

—Masashi Hijikata

the old woman who visits me for tea is dead but I don’t have the heart to tell her

every time I see my mother there’s a pool of seawater in her room

and still no one’s removed that boat off the Sumitomo’s building

if a boat can get all the way up there what keeps us from disappearing into the sky

like the woman who walks each morning across the ocean and back I wonder where I’m going now

what can I talk to my friend about these days I still have my son

who collects the things found on the beach someone’s television set a rusted refrigerator

a woman says that soon this city will be filled by God but is God a tsunami that takes years to drain out

the phone calls I get are from numbers that don’t exist

my husband calls his friends several times a day how are you? how are you? just in case

Otsuchi becomes a great washing machine again tumbling us in and out of memories

it’s come to the point I can’t even go out in the rain anymore that’s when I see

puddles like the eyes of dead people what can I do put them in a cup

my daughters were lined up like bowling pins outside the school waiting for the earthquake

why didn’t I keep her home from school that day she complained about her throat

every day someone new is sick whatever we try to rebuild is barricaded by ghosts

even taxi drivers refuse to go to Sendai afraid of catching ghosts

one man’s address led to a concrete slab the man was gone but the driver opened the door

just in case I was never high enough I kept climbing the stairs but how do you outrun an ocean

with all the old houses cleared and the new ones rising it’s becoming hard to remember what we looked like before

Meg Eden is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and winner of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature. Her work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO and CV2. She teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, the novel Post-High School Reality Quest (2017), and the poetry collection Drowning in the Floating World (2020)

Erika Eckart is the author of the tyranny of heirlooms, a chapbook of interconnected prose poems (Sundress Publications, 2018). Her writing has appeared in Double Room, Agni, Quarter After Eight, Quick Fiction, Nano Fiction, Quiditty, and elsewhere. She is a High School English Teacher in Oak Park, IL where she lives with her husband and two children.

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