In the dark of the winter I used to pull sweet
from the air and wear it on my mouth—this is how
I became trouble. At sixteen I began to understand
how a fire can burn cold, the rite of assumed subservience
breaking apart with every step I took in the snow.
I left blood there, left dirty water and magazine advice.
Still, there was a time when boys tasted like candy,
before I didn’t want to eat them alive,
before my wisdom teeth came in, before my jaw
ached with the hissing. Girls like me you’ll break
and break and break but my name splits your mouth like
teeth. When I tasted trash on your tongue I ran
with every stolen light, blessed myself in dirt and honey,
birthed myself back into a city. Spring delivers
cherry trees pink, dusting Washington in blossoms—
still we riot. I call down the carrion dogs
to dance for you. When my throat starts to burn
I call down the pigeons to roost on our shoulders and
the doves to rest between our thighs. Tonight the fire
is a ripe fruit, its center a stone to spit into the sky.
E. Kristin Anderson is a poet and glitter enthusiast living mostly at a Starbucks somewhere in Austin, Texas. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press), and her work has been published worldwide in many magazines. She is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press), Fire in the Sky (Grey Book Press), 17 seventeen XVII (Grey Book Press), and Behind, All You’ve Got (Semiperfect Press, forthcoming). Kristin is a poetry reader at Cotton Xenomorph and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked nights at The New Yorker. WEB TWITTER