now you know what’s in me

E. Kristin Anderson
Content Warnings
"I’ve long accepted that there’s no such thing as rewinding—"
Dec 28, 2020 9:51 PM

(after Jenny Owen Youngs)

I’ve long accepted that there’s no such thing as rewinding—

every moth hole stays where it is and can’t be filled with thread or hurt.

It’s August and I could memorize the facts or I could memorize

the detritus collecting in the weeds on the side of the road.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been dreaming of my hometown mid-apocalypse,

why I wake disoriented, the mockingbirds singing urgent at the window.

My horoscope tells me that I will fold hard into myself and shatter,

that this will allow access to a wreckage with which I can rebuild.

I’m so hot and I put my secrets in the VCR so nobody can find them

without a remote control and two AA batteries. I record over everything

and the moon moves and I anoint the truth in lemon juice and salt

and when I falter I commit my fears to the cable news hosts—

they carry our demons in a plastic cup. If life can be as good as television

it must also be as hateful as the fire burning us down torch by torch

by gunshot and I hold this inside me like kidney failure and ghosts

and the last words you were speaking when I hung up the phone

in December. Everything that hurts distills the girl in me, pulls her

from the taste of my tongue. Home as place has always been apocalypse—

I continue to survive with all the bad parts in me all the bad parts moving

right there in my TV, digital feed buffering past our fictions and tumbling

from Rachel Maddow’s lips. Even as the earth spins there’s no such thing

as fast-forward. I position myself in heavy shoes on the sidewalk

to wait for acid rain. Facts are only as immovable as we are and

when I put them back in my pocket it’s because plastic can’t hold them

like it holds me. When I throw the remote into the river I’m praying

for the car alarm to stop so the mockingbird might sing a refrain.

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 been published worldwide 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), and Behind, All You’ve Got (Semiperfect Press). 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. Find her online at and on twitter at @ek_anderson.