But We Knew One Thing
+++++++++++++++++(after Florence + the Machine)
At seventeen I started to hear myself—that voice
that shook me from the doorframe. That knew I could
open a door as well as I could open my mouth. A lipstick
cannot fill emptiness but awake all night it might be a salve
for the sting of hope, all my muscles sore. We all hunger
for blood and bile, the touch that could be ghost or mother—
I don’t have to be afraid. I know what I need and loneliness
is less a curse than it is a devotion and I answer this
with the placidity of a Texas storm in spring. I may appear free
but on Friday night I’m lining up orange bottles and blister packs
and staring at my phone. But once I did wear that pink dress
and I bared my teeth and put lavender in my hair braided and red.
Still, I never forget to worry and my body shakes with answers
and the possibility of crucifixion. Like every day, today
I fool death and bury it in my throat with my youth.
You should understand that these pills are okay and they
keep me breathing and even as you hunger for normal
I hunger for the beauty of knowing, use my body as prophecy,
hear the mockingbird who knows her own hunger for song
and sky. I cannot hold her in my hands but I carry her answers
tucked into my sleeve, her voice is both bird and ambulance and
tonight I touch my wrist, measure my heartbeat—steady and mine.
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, Puerto del Sol, 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.