E. KRISTIN ANDERSON / 3 POEMS
If I Knew God I Would Ask Her About My Knees
(after The X-Files)
I found a gift behind my neck cut myself loose from this bed
and felt the sun. I don’t know how to be sick— how to cull
the chaos and sweep like feathers it into my chest knowing the truth
is too much for the blood to bear. I wonder what it’s like to know faith—
Dana, I would carry your cross if I could would wrap myself
in the light that almost touched me at that Catholic hospital— Christ
staring down at me from his crucifix by the door. As the burden of
another’s prayers this feeling— it’s almost as strange as
the foreign plasma that loitered in my veins.
And what is Christ without his blood?
The devil without his lies? Doctor Scully, you believe and still you
question every miracle watch a human jump out a window and walk away
explain stigmata as if a constant state of woundedness could
ever make sense. I don’t know what fracture I’m waiting for in the dark
in the bed on the pavement— what sort of power we women have
over our own bodies is a mystery in itself. But bless you, Agent Scully.
I believe that you smell roses on the dead just as often as I believe
I might be about to die again. I think you would believe me too.
I would show you my freckled shoulders and you would tell me a truth
that can only be divined from my own nature how these bones connect
salt to spirit to sanguine earth. The blood in our hands remains only ours.
Calling Down the Water We Find That It’s Already Raining
(after The X-Files)
Do you want to know how you’re going to die—
a question we’ve all asked ourselves maybe consulting a Magic 8 Ball
or even in bravery a Ouija Board. But knowledge is a burden.
There are timelines we can’t unsee no matter how many times we’ve tried
to wrench our own eyes from our bodies. And, Scully, I know
the exhaustion of existing in a room full of men. Of following
their whims into dark woods— there are hits and there are misses and they
hear our voices as neither. And I’ve spent time on my back white sheets
pulled up to my chin imagining a quiet death in the flowers— vases
in the hospital. Blooming detritus in the dirt. Dana, the energy in a room
like this is electric enough to start a landslide a chain reaction of misadventure—
it’s palpable and yet I reach for prognostication in lieu of diagnosis. I reach
with palms open under moody violet light pray that someone will hold my hand
when it’s time. There is a body out there muddy. But there is no truth
in women’s intuition. Not anymore than there is hysteria. Sometimes
we know things because we have to. We just know. And, Ms. Scully,
I will never take my stories back. I will never slide revelations into the dark
of my pockets. I will open my eyes only for tulips blooming with the dawn.
Man Is Pitted Against Nature and Woman Is Pitted Against Herself
(after The X-Files)
I can disappear into malady. Another day in which I’ve convinced myself
that I might be dying. And so this door blows open— water-borne,
a burden and it falls down my arms. Agent Scully, already I’m
ensconced in this headache and I can’t break through. My mouth floods
like the road and I think this time the monster is the Lord’s gospel truth
gasping for air. I receive rain and salt and the National Weather Service.
You let him hold his flashlight with his teeth. He is as useless as the light.
Circling. Behind my eyes is the bottom of the ocean screaming
for rebirth— there are things that can only be read about. With the city
I protect myself but everything we build can also collapse just as this
threat swims in every light fixture just as you deliver a stranger’s baby
hold in your hands somehow new life a human child to defend.
I don’t have a gun but I have my bare hands. Can we leave every man
with a tentacle around his neck? Plant these stings like scars? As yet
unidentified they are trying to test our mettle and we are not fucking around
and we roll down and out to the Gulf even in the dark doctor or patient
we are both organisms, Dana, trying to make safe a disaster and it’s impossible.
Let us be the disaster— I’m here. I came in my black raincoat I stand
in the flying debris and whisper and the rain is heavy and the rain heals
and this is where I want to be and there is a flood warning in effect
and the water grows as deep and dark as my devil heart. Drop the TV
in this self-borne ocean. We can make ourselves anew or we can let the fever
take us wet and scared. Nothing I’ve seen convinces me that anything out here
is real. Let them shut the roads down but they aren’t fast enough when panic
comes like a hurricane when I tip over appliances to barricade myself in. Scully,
put down your flashlight so we might revel in this undiscovered dark. Feel
the storm on your tongue and let the tentacles take anyone who won’t stand back
while we wash out this building that would leave us for dead.
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, and her work has been published worldwide in many magazines. She is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry, including A Guide for the Practical Abductee, Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night, Fire in the Sky, 17 seventeen XVII, and the forthcoming Behind, All You've Got. 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.