E. Kristin Anderson
Any Return Following My Breath Is a Mouthful of Departure
(after The X-Files)
Floating. It could be anytime— this wildness that swallows the self
in the fog of panic. Only blood pressure speaks to me deep in a memory
and fear blocks both DNA and reverie like a curtain. In my illness a nurse
came at night and held my hand and while I cried she prayed for me and
everything was white: her sweater my blankets the bright light coming in
from the hall. Like you I find the threads of my narrative pulled loose a hand
from every direction when there was only vomiting and Valium and fever dreams.
I know you have fallen out of your body and fallen back but the truth of the spirit
is not this thing that left a scar on my neck. I’m not sure if that even matters.
In the hospital what is a daughter? At my window: rain and concrete.
In this room still: the ghost of my father. Before you know it it’s over.
I don’t recognize the woman who would cradle the snake but I am here and
I am her and I am enraged and I can finally get warm again and, Dana,
I hope you are warm too. Follow the voices always back to land hold onto
that guilt of taking a living thing bloody into your hands that guilt that allows you
to be a living thing to still be living. Letting go is how we are blessed—
the rope tied to the dock the lake bright and cold my blood still inside of me—
Dana Scully, please wake up so I can ask you how to find normal after this
bizarre displacement these hands all around me demanding praise for how
I managed to save me from myself my medical records as worthless as a promise.
The Magnetism of Every Year Swallowed Into the Woods
(after The X-Files)
In 1999 I was infinite— an electric streak down the hallway and to think
that maze of aluminum lockers once contained me. I touched the wall
and felt the energy of every minute wasted being good. And in 1999
I rode endless hours like a ribbon of pavement ending only in the dusky unease
of my own body. I bit into trees as if they were permanent. With my teeth
I performed blooming. I fished myself from the window like a ghost girl
unchanging and wondering at any god because how even is a minute meant to occur?
I tried to accelerate anger into malaise. Even good girls go to the hospital. We are all
made of light and meat and breath. If there is still a bad seed in me I would like
to let it sprout. Scully, the human body can’t move that way can’t throw itself
wild past reality and stay there forever. Still. An autopsy might reveal that there is
no such thing as bad kids. That there is only a timeline in which we all waste ourselves
in riding the momentum of our mistakes. Let them linger into stories. Let injuries show
only in your X-Rays held up against a light board. For each of us there’s a cave to devour us
spinning against gravity and there is no placidity, Dana, because we all fear standing still.