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E. KRISTIN ANDERSON | Feeling It From Dark

(after Feist)

I learned young that the ocean takes what it has to,

the tide pulling sand from under my toes, that tight grip

just like the heavy sleep of my adolescent depression.

And year after year we’ve come to find all our 8-bit dreams

exploding in VR like natural disasters and no amount

of light staves off this frightening truth. I’ve lived my whole life

tethered to whispers, the anxiety of 1998 still filling me

with hunger. I fill my mouth with fruit, stain my fingers scarlet,

stand in the shower and tell myself I’m suffocating

in the heat. A safety pin is a closure but it also draws blood

and when I remember the bright skirts of my youth

I also remember how I revealed the volcano glowing just

beneath my skin, the serotonin raining around me like

all this beautiful ash. I’m teaching myself to turn off the news

when I can’t breathe. I guess fear burns calories and

I fill my mouth with salt. I lean against walls so I’ll always know

who isn’t behind me and here I cradle an early memory

of bright red blood splashing down my arm at the doctor’s office.

My cat moves the blinds and the soft afternoon fills

the room with light. Yes, the grass grows even on the days we don’t

go outside. I also breathe on the days nobody sees me,

painting my lips brighter than death. I hold every year inside me

even as the medicine fills my memory with gaps. I never

even dreamed of a world where I’d turn sideways, where I would

always carry the volcano, scarlet through my hair and in

my belly. In this timeline I carry a device that can connect me

to the entire world and I’ve used it to disconnect from you,

to map a line straight through my body, spitting sand into the dark.


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 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 and on Twitter at @ek_anderson.


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