Four Parts Water, Five Parts Believing
after Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
When I came to this hottest summer I knew only the most shallow part of you. What I left behind continues to grow
and as it grows I forget. But don’t tell me that the flash bright in the western sky isn’t lightning. This afternoon
sugar sifts through my fingers and I throw what I can’t hold into the brush. I’ve already been told I’m one in two million.
All it made me was sick. And I lost my recipe cards years ago in the last move and part of me knows this makes me free.
I put both feet on the asphalt of this city when the sun is highest in the sky and I know this is the biggest thing.
This feeling in me is a feminine understanding of nature— Margaret says men fear my laughter and I fear my murder
at their hands. I hold this in my gut like a balloon inflating and wait for you to pull the string. In my hands I carry the weight
of how you see me as feed. Here I lean against the brick and mortar of myself to stay upright because a lie in your mouth
is a force of nature but it is still a lie. Ask me what I believe and I will tell you that I believe in the house finches lining up
on the back of the fence even in this heat wave. Below: a branch the lightning took, scorched brown by the sun.
What I can’t leave behind settles on my shoulders while I write another letter. There’s no sugar for this and I let
the rhythm in my teeth guide me through the water and the shine. Somewhere here is a plan to follow, a beauty
to feed, a wire to cut so we might let the lightning go free and step out from our front doors into the storm, the chorus
of chittering finches an honest reckoning. We are no bigger than the birds. And because you are empty you’ll never know
this perfect love of holding your hands toward the sky cupped to collect a drop of rain and press it to your lips.
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 EKristinAnderson.com and on twitter at @ek_anderson.