I Still Sing Those Songs Electric to Myself

                  (after the X-Files)

          I left      purged childhood from my body      sent it sinking to the sea floor
          skin open to let it out and cure me.          I need a doctor.        Or a priest.
          Or popcorn.      A fire.      I believe what I’ve seen:           my medical records

          the laundry pile      a slice of toast        the Maine coastline shrinking    as I
          view it from an airplane window       the unrelenting ghost of safety     always
          out of reach.          They still sow fog       and I still sharpen my own pencils

          and my own teeth.     This is disappointment:      how they claw out their eyes
          when I return.           As if I couldn’t do that myself.        As if I already have—
          the witch your local newspaper warned you about—        the harbinger of

          starless skies         of another sour meal.         Dana Scully is not crazy.      She
          wraps herself in a coat     follows the blood and the fear     has no good weapon
          to show that plastic voice      no FBI solution for a strange girl.     And perhaps

          I am like Scully—     so tired as burn your comfort alive        so she might live
          and finally go home.       Perhaps I am the doll      burning in the microwave—
          irradiated and dark        but still somehow knowable      as the record spins

          over and over      my turntable always in motion.       Or perhaps I am the doll
          left to rest in the ocean        hands full of sand        so tired      so very tired
          but ready to massacre anyone           who would dredge me up in a net.


Coming Back From Coming Back

                  (after the X-Files)

          Close the door—       there’s a fetch in the mirror       the girl who comes in
          to remind us of our nature      the hole waiting in the ground,        how much we
          rely on ignorance:    a heavy window shut on anxieties       pulled       into lungs.

          Breath warm    we find blood on the mirror      real or imagined—       I know
          what you saw, Dana Scully,         blinking,        mouth waxy and wide.         Let me
          remind you:         The fetch is a death omen        standing still on the tile floor;

          we have been close enough        to hold her        and your medical opinion is
          sweat,        cool and salty in our hair.       It is a ball rolling,        strings of numbers.
          Still: Inherently we know     she is me.           Always          she is me          small

          and open       with one hand on Kleenex and the other         on lipstick.
          warm and red.         Tell me:      How did you send your fetch away        alone?
          Mine         comes to bed every night,        clutches my hand in the dark.


Another Careful Disaster of Lace and Branch

                  (a golden shovel after Ke$ha)

          The ghosts come begging every time—I spit in the well, get
          8am phone calls from rowan and ash. My body is not just a

          story—I am a terror of femininity. My fire could speak a little
          rebellion in the magnolia, her waxy flowers falling gently, a bit

          Hollywood-esque, but also bulletproof. See how the meat of me—raw,
          hot beneath my breasts—is red like yours, wet with sugar-rain. Come

          wrap me in twists of vine—I might let you choose the greenery, a
          minor concession for your supposed suffering. Ring quiet, the little

          bells. Pray in my church of distortion and apples. Here I come undone
          like the clasp of my bra. I come undone like the braid in my hair. I get

          this feeling—as if the crow and the dove could know more than a
          song or a feather. I’ll sit, gather my blood like tealeaves, like a little

          confession to save for gods who know my body’s garden, a bit
          of the self that is part mercy and part juniper. I can spit reckless

          pretending I don’t really mean it. But I mean everything. And the men I
          know are losing breath—let the hawthorn have them. And when I can’t

          breathe I will pray for the strength of stone and feather, that spark I get
          when I turn out the kitchen lights—tomorrow the flame won’t be enough.


E. Kristin Anderson is a poet, Starbucks connoisseur, and glitter enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She is the author of nine chapbooks, including Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015), 17 seventeen XVII (Grey Book Press, 2017) and Behind, All You’ve Got (forthcoming). Kristin is an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water; once upon a time she worked nights at The New Yorker.
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