(after PJ Harvey)
I’m trying to see out of my home, wondering if I could ever rebirth
myself onto concrete or sand. The beautiful girls keep digging holes
for treasure and water. Holding my shovel I thought I was smarter.
I could go missing. As if it’s something no one else has done.
Women like me disappear all the time right into their own beds and
every man I’ve ever met has had something to tell me about my safety.
It’s a waste but it’s still a war and it’s hard to keep careful when there’s
a pistol penetrating the topsoil, hands green and wet in the grass.
We’ve found a violence in a woman’s laughter as ripe as the violence
in the rain hitting my bedroom window and so we hold it in our throats.
I’ve learned too much about bodies—we’re ending as soon as we arrive
and in this there’s no reason to run. In this I am as immortal as I am dead.
I want to see an apocalypse on its knees, your steel barrels rust-eaten
and red, just moose and fox left to collect our bones and deliver them
unto the pyre. Let them send us to the sea or the city. Something
has detached inside me and it ricochets. Somehow even in agoraphobia
I am always leaving, in motion with these hills. The first dandelion
of this spring arrives in February and I can’t remember if this is normal.
Under the varnish this is a landscape of fear—the fireflies could catch us
and keep us in ventilated jars. But we don’t know how to breathe anymore
without daily headlines gunshot and gray. It rains so hard I snap awake
at four a.m. as sharp as a kitchen knife, sure the end of the world
has finally come for my tired heart and yours. I know that nightmares
don’t know how to rest just as I know that someone will fire the shot
that opens the earth like a big, empty mouth. The children will know
to run but I’ll count shadows—what goes missing never returns whole.
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 (Anomalous Press), and her work has appeared in many magazines. She 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), We’re Doing Witchcraft (Porkbelly Press) and Behind, All You’ve Got (Semiperfect Press). Kristin is a poetry reader at Cotton Xenomorph and an editorial assistant at Porkbelly Press. Once upon a time she worked nights at The New Yorker. Find her online at EKristinAnderson.com and on Twitter at @ek_anderson.