Meg Johnson: Five Poems


I see a wire under

my skin. From the top

of my underwear

inching up my center,

a painless stem. I worry

I am not real. I worry

the wire should be tucked

inside, not forcing its way

out. I tell myself whether

I am human or machine

is no one’s business.



Your vulva is hiring a P.R. firm.

Your vulva has a low profile.


Once, in the 90’s, Ross said “vulva”

on Friends, but that was a long time ago,

and your vulva never really liked

Ross anyway.


Your vulva is hiring a lawyer.

Think of all the times it was robbed

of proper attribution.


A girl with an upcoming Brazilian:

“I’m getting my vagina waxed!”

No, you are not.


“I suffer for nothing!” says your vulva,




No one should dub themselves

motivational. No one should

claim they inspire others.

I can’t help but imagine

these self-proclaimed speaker-saints

getting rammed up the ass

with a unicorn’s horn. I’d rather

converse with a crack addict

with a wire cart and a scrunchie.


I can’t sit through another solo dance

piece about Persephone. In the program

notes, the soloist-slash-choreographer

will write of Persephone’s great

beauty, assuming the audience

will never question the self-cast role.




Ingénues stolen in plain

sight. Girls, young women

assaulted on sunny days.

This is the dark routine.

Fathers don’t go missing.


Your dad’s car will not

be abandoned by a hiking trail.

He is not the main character.


A diabetic man, little insulin.

What fairy tale can we compare

this to? Can fathers faint?

Who wants to steal a father?

A tux fitting is not

very masculine.


Abandoned car pointed

in the wrong direction.

A needle pricking

empty air. The father-

daughter dance.

We may never know

what song he picked out.




I am a rapper. I rap

to my porcelain dolls.

I can tell they love

my fierce rhymes

when they don’t

move their eyes.

And when they look



I am fake pregnant.

Not to trap a man, but

to entertain myself.

It makes me feel skinny!


I am auditioning

to be a puppet. I like

to pull my own strings.

I wish I was at home

pulling my own strings

right now.


You must sit at least two feet

away from me. If you do not

sit two feet away from me,

I will continue to smell

this sharpie marker until

you feel so uncomfortable

you must leave the room.


You will be confused

by how turned on you are

by my sharpie sniffing.


You will shiver

with self-hatred.



Meg Johnson is the author of the full length poetry collection, Inappropriate Sleepover (The National Poetry Review Press, 2014) which was a NewPages Editor’s Pick. Her second book, The Crimes of Clara Turlington, won the 2015 Vignette Collection Award and is forthcoming from Vine Leaves Press. Her poems have appeared in HobartNashville Review, The PuritanPainted Bride QuarterlySugar House ReviewVerse Daily, and others. Meg started dancing at a young age and worked professionally in the performing arts for many years. She is the editor of Dressing Room Poetry Journal and recently received her MFA in creative writing from the NEOMFA Program. She is currently a lecturer at Iowa State University. Her website is: and she blogs at: