E. Kristin Anderson is a poet living mostly at a Starbucks somewhere in Austin, Texas. She is the editor of Come as You Are and has been widely published in 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 Behind, and All You’ve Got (forthcoming). Kristin is a poetry reader at Cotton Xenomorph and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked nights at The New Yorker.
I Walk Through
(after Mary Timony)
Today is my birthday and all I can think of is death,
the wintery voice of almost, those months spent in and
out of communion with the flora of my guts. December
is a trauma buffet and the crows come down to lick out
my eyes, to leave behind my empty cups to fill with rain.
Kaleidoscopes to fill with ants. I throw myself into sleep,
try not to hear the hoof beats at my window, the voice on
speakerphone telling me I can’t rest my head. Sometimes
I am empty, even of demons, even of my heart and its
four chambers replete with fire and dawn. Ten times
a day I spit butterflies into the sink, open the door to
let them out. I live in fear of ex boyfriends at the store,
of hospital bills in the mailbox. Every day I wake up in
this body and every day I wake up alarmed. I make peace
with the brown recluse living in my bathroom only to have
her leave. How dangerous it is to be alive in this century—
but before the bees it was the beetles who came to greet
the magnolia. My generation sorts recyclables, talks and
talks into our apocalypse. My boots are getting softer,
zipping up smoother every day, a second skin. I make
a grocery list as if I can write over this reality as if I can’t
see the past and the future reflected in my open hands.
Ten times a day I give myself over to the grass, in case
this time it would have me, but the moment is never right.
So we talk about next year pretending that January first
is the beginning of anything and even as the bees count
their blessings I look for hope in the dirt under fingernails,
in the blood of a bitten tongue. In my own bed I try to
see past the ceiling and pull the sky into myself—it’s just
something to fill the space you left when I let you go.