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.