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.