Three Poems After the X-Files

June 6, 2019


Don’t Forget for a Minute That When You Think You’re Safe the Sky Is Lying

                                            (after The X-Files)



Once a generation we        take a shovel out of the garage     and plant it

in the ground       leave it there to rust.           Dana, we both live life

waist-deep in mud and              you open a man so regularly that 


a stomach full of earth is no longer a surprise.       Past the cellar door is

a case for anger management       the root systems tangling elegiac

and I cut them open        and escape.       Scully, is it so hard to believe


that the trees can both guide and bind us?          Visiting secrets is how we

split        blighted      and put our boots on take the shovel forget to dig

crack the glass and watch it land on the carpet.             I think sometimes


that evil is just another perspective.       Here disbelief is an axe in the heart

of an orchard          the rain washing out the blood          and I need you 

to remember, Agent Scully:        Nothing is ever as normal as it looks—


I myself have        held the dirt inside my mouth for years.        And you say

a fight for air creates a vacuum     and I’ll accept this science if      you

will accept that a woman can cultivate enough fear              inside 


her own home      to cause the bark of the pecan trees to bleed.     Here 

is a splinter of greenwood       to plant into human muscle       to remove 

when we’re older        so we might remember       how we got here.





Every Phone Call I Make Is Another Chance to Whisper Goodbye to the Crowd

                                            (after The X-Files)



How it starts:             stranded.           And the dirt knows me here          pulling 

the strange from my mouth        waiting like footprints in desert sand.       Still I hear 

that voice as clear as a quarter dropping into a payphone        and the bus goes by 


again and again         and, Scully, this isn’t on the map           this corn syrup deluge 

this bizarre kindness wrapped around every point of entry.      We both know fever 

all too well          and I close my eyes because         every room         in every house        


is some sort of death              however anomalous             and somehow it oozes 

under the skin.        Dana, were we taught not to envy?          I need some help and

hope is some kind of parasite forced inside me.             How did this happen?


And where is here, exactly?          I trust your pliers and your cell phone, Scully, as if

we could do any of this with curtains closed.            I slip out the window after you

and take the wires with me.       Dana, we both know we need more      than this—


more than a cool wash cloth and a prayer.       Praise God?       But this near-stranger

is the surgeon trusted to cut us open and pull from us         both God and infection

to pull truth from the spine.       Give him a pocketknife or a scalpel.      Use your voice


in the depths of cold sweat.            I consider those who would murder together—

stone after stone to strip away the self from the flesh         under the bluest sky—

that is a desolation too easy to understand.          The glass breaks and you know


it’s time to run.             Because it’s always time to run          if you can put desert

behind you       electricity gone        and I ask for a blessing,        Doctor Scully—

even missing       I am a whole woman.       I pray you will take this devil out of me. 






Branches Scratch at My Window and I Suspect I Can Die of False Nostalgia 

                                            (after The X-Files)



                                                 Point A:                 a child prone to fantasy       

as afraid of failure as I was the dark.          I found so many things to eat me alive

in a cold sweat.       In the trees I reach for a kinetic energy to follow        like a map     


to follow back.       Look at this house.       Don’t look in the windows.      This 

is where my body sunk down down down into the grass        so deep that I forgot

my own eyes.      This electricity that moves me is only available in discontent      but


it’s so truthful.      It carries me now with concrete and sunlight       and, Scully, 

I am a poltergeist—        I haunt myself closely.             I close the curtains tight.

There are no mistakes anymore.        I reject them.         


                                                 Point B:                      the ghost of my memory 

still clinging to this ceiling.           And I want to let go of this—           it’s a story for 

a TV family and it would defy gravity.     We connect these dots       little treasons 


in my malaise—         I saw them all.       And my body carries them as if they were 

my bones.     I throw myself through the roof to connect with the sky      discover joy.         

But no matter what I do,      Doctor Scully, I cannot relax I cannot relax I cannot relax.


                                                 Point C:                levitation coming in little tastes.         

You want the science but I don’t need documentation           to believe.         I believe. 

I believe you.    I keep putting off the ending, Dana.     But also I don’t know what it is.


What I grew up to be        (as grand as this may sound)        was unexpected.      And 

I hold it close because it is honest.         These years are mine            and that is a wonder 

that I won’t ignore even when the roof falls in        even if the likely place to start is lost.


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 and on twitter at @ek_anderson.






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