2 poems

by E. Kristin Anderson

E. Kristin Anderson is a poet and glitter enthusiast living mostly at a Starbucks somewhere in Austin, Texas. A Connecticut College alumna with a B.A. in classical studies, Kristin’s work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The Texas Review, The Pinch, Barrelhouse Online, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and FreezeRay Poetry. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press) and 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 an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked the night shift at The New Yorker. Find her online at EKristinAnderson.com and on twitter at @ek_anderson.

Even in the Monotony of Hallucination I Know to Believe in the Evil of Men

(after The X-Files)

 

Late at night I check my phone again and again for new messages.       I bloody

my lip        and lose the glitter of myself between my teeth.           I am the wrong

kind of ugly       I know            but this isn’t a negotiation.        Fear is an infection,

 

Doctor Scully,        or perhaps it is an insect bite.         First men take our blood          

second they haunt us                  shouting until we acquiesce to certain ghosts.      

The conspiracy here is        who gets to say who the actual people           actually are    

 

and they too fail to peel away from mediocrity—        just another sweaty man

solving his problems with another gun.         Put him on TV.            Let him sing

on the radio.        And we are all changed—        hypnotized by the inevitable

 

violence we’re expected to expect.           I bloody my hands.           The soul is not

harvestable         and I bury mine in my thighs.           Paranoia from lack of sleep

is a poor excuse—      I never sleep anymore       and when I do I struggle to wake up       

 

stuck in sleep paralysis        watching a monster at the window in the dark.      But

Scully, I know you know this:              The monsters we need to watch are the ones

that hide in the light.        Sometimes truth leaves in a body bag.        And there is no

 

I told you so             because nobody cares.           Pale-faced and altered,         Scully,

the autopsy is everything we have:           same liver            same heart           same ribs     

same toes to tag      blue in the freezer.      In twenty-four hours we’ll still be able

 

to find the lie.         In twenty-four hours our minds are still clear      and we listen        

for another automatic weapon           in its seduction        of another mediocre man          

trying prove to us                that he exists.             As if we don’t already know.

The Bats Are Coming from the River and This Latitude Is My Only Ever Safety

(after The X-Files)

 

I’m marked now.            I know this.              The men who know the dead

have told me so and it’s true.        Still I will not mollify all those who would

hold their whole selves         in front of us        who tell us to go home and

lock the doors on a dark and stormy night.           Agent Scully carries a gun

 

and a flashlight—         I carry the teeth in my mouth.        I’m not here to be

a curiosity.           I hand you back your Occam’s razor and it slices your palm.

Behold:          You too can bleed.          Isolated I leave scratches in the wood

with my fingernails       clinging to the softness inside myself.           Tonight

 

is a pink scar.     This mystery leaves only a footprint.      Follow the evidence

identify the markings left            by a human mouth.            And assumption

is the problem.            We are animals and Scully has walked more cemeteries

than any animal is meant to walk.              Still            we make leaps.       We

 

extend our bodies into the rain because we’re here to work          not to allay

anyone’s fears.        Check under your own bed.         Peek into your attic and

see what what’s hanging from the rafters.         My ceiling will always be stars          

even indoors and I let an echo come to me.       My monster spreads its wings      

 

and you’re not welcome here.              I take Scully into my left ventricle and

we’re so far-out          and I walk us over consecrated earth          our mouths

bloody and wild to breathe this air.          This is how fear becomes obsession.    

This is how woman       becomes ritual.       Finger by finger we count you out.

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