I am a starfish tonight
by E. Kristin Anderson
what was it that kept me bound
to reality last summer? The songs
and the stars and the ocean I saw
when I closed my eyes?
I make my bed around myself
and reach my arms out at the edges.
In one hand are the pirates, in one hand
is the ship and my heart beats soft
like a snare.
I never close the door.
You never know what ghost of love
might float through, put on a hat,
and say okay. Instead, I consider
the consequences of words:
What is anchor? What is coffee?
What is pigeon? What is fuck, hard
k sound striking stand straight up
hello into the listener and you claim
to have quit swearing but I never will.
They cut off my arm and as it grows back
every obscenity that passes my lips makes sense
of the pain. Lets it trickle into my mitral valve
where (yes) it pumps dirty back through my veins
like damn damn damn.
But how long do we have here
anyway? And if tonight I am
a starfish in a pool of sweat
and sheets then tomorrow I will
be a dolphin and I will not stay close to shore.
Listen to me, let me win—
this one time, I know you’ll let me win,
vice after vice. We write them down. We
are not sorry. At least me—I am not a woman
with apologies in her dirtied blood.
E. KRISTIN ANDERSON the author of seven chapbooks including A Guide for The Practical Abductee (Red Bird Chapbooks 2014) Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015), 17 Days (ELJ Publications) Acoustic Battery Life (ELJ 2016), Fire In The Sky (Grey Book Press 2016), and She Witnesses (dancing girl press, 2016). Her nonfiction anthology, Dear Teen Me, based on the popular website of the same name, was published in October of 2012 by Zest Books (distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and her next anthology, HYSTERIA: Writing The Female Body, is forthcoming from Sable Books. She’s worked at The New Yorker magazine, has a B.A. in Classics from Connecticut College and is currently a poetry editor for Found Poetry Review. She’s published poetry in many magazines worldwide, including Juked, Hotel Amerika, [PANK], Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Cicada, and she has work forthcoming in Folio and Red Paint Hill. She grew up in Maine, lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at EKristinAnderson.com.
The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water.
—Cervantes, Don Quixote
© 2016 The Indianola Review