Child Beauty Pageant Ghazal

Meg Eden

The woman in front of me at the post office says
she’s mailing out her granddaughter‚Äôs hair.¬†
 
For pageants, she explains to us all.
She wins wherever she goes with that hair!
 
My grandmother always sent me beanie babies‚ÄĒ
what is it like, instead, to get hair? 
 
The only wigs I wore were for Halloween. My mother
did my make-up for studio photos, my hair:
 
one year, Snow White with a craft-store bird
on my finger; another, Rapunzel with all that fake hair
 
in my mouth. A temporary princess, I went home
and washed up, exchanged the wig for my own hair.
 
My mother used to be in pageants‚ÄĒcould‚Äôve made me too,
just asked for one day a year. Every month, she dyes her hair
 
white-blonde, the color it was when she was a young girl.
As if a girl is nothing without her hair.
 
I imagine the granddaughter, waiting each day at the mailbox,
her mother waiting each day at the mailbox for that glitzy hair.
 
Maybe the girl is waiting for a box filled with something‚ÄĒ
anything other than hair. Maybe she only feels beautiful in that hair.

Meg Eden's 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 and the MA program at Southern New Hampshire University. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, the novel Post-High School Reality Quest (2017), and the forthcoming poetry collection Drowning in the Floating World (2020). Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.