E. Kristin Anderson's poem "In the Hopes I Can Spell Out My Name" appears in Issue 59: Forged.
E. Kristin Anderson
In the Hopes I Can Spell Out My Name
(after Aimee Mann)
I keep checking my garbage disposal to see if it’s broken again
or if that was just a dream. This is how I find clarity, how I know
I’m still here. Even when I feel like a ghost I am deeply aware of
the space I take up and I think about each breath of air and forget how
to breathe and this almost feels like magic. There’s a joke here somewhere,
floating in the wind, tired. But we haven’t spoken in a year and you never
thought I was funny. Still I’m willing to swim in cliché every time I tell you
that my body is a catalog of bad news—it’s been too long since I’ve seen
the inside of a hospital and I don’t know how to modulate the things
I can’t see, how to sleep through another siren. These debt collectors call
anyway and, despite death, this is the borrowed time I fear the most. And I try
to separate you from this, from the woman I’ve become, but there you are,
disappointed. I often think of that Ouija board you got me for Christmas
one year. I was fourteen and I hid it in my closet. I already had enough ghosts.
Now I’m just a few photos in your house and with that perspective I create
my own body, let the artist ease a moth into my skin, buy clothes that fit,
hide your letters in the back of that one cluttered drawer. There’s weight and
there’s anger and they creep up on me even if correlation is not causation.
I’ve learned to translate that look in your eye and I’ll never wear it. Tonight
I cut a curled telephone cord in half, and in half again—and again and again until
your chain reaction is my own story. I can hold it in my hands, all these pieces.
I can collect everything that shines and build an image in silver to serve
as a map, wash it in the creek—I’ll always know what I saw. What I made.
Even when I am a ghost I can turn the lights on and know I’m still here.
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). Find her online at EKristinAnderson.com and on Twitter at @ek_anderson
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