Three Poems After the X-Files by E. Kristin Anderson

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.