Live Without / I Need Your Love, Too

[poetry]

Live Without

(after Phoebe Bridgers)

Sometimes I hear your voice in my head and remember that
Armageddon is relative—every disaster backs up to the next

and sends us praying. I still consider our holiest communion—
that glass rattling in the old wood when we shut the windows

to catch our own voices. I carry every therapist who wouldn’t
absolve you—how could I not be nauseous in that surging tide?

My body and its failures offend you. Still every time I drink
the moon for dinner and still feel empty I want to call you.

This year the number I call the most now is the pharmacy.
I have to wonder who you were when I was born because

I feel you in both root and stem but I’ll never be sorry to
have eaten the sky. When I surrender to the sound of rain

I ask myself—who does this rain belong to? All your mother’s
sons are dying and at midnight I remember the rhododendrons

you’ve since cut down and I don’t feel a thing. Do you open
your windows now? And what would happen if the neighbors

heard the stones still echoing inside your walls? Every day I
learn new words and still I don’t have what I need to navigate

missing you while eating chocolate in the dark. And because
I am still afraid of the dark I name the shadows in my bedroom

and let them become familiar. If I ever go outside again I’ll
hold close the truth that all the windows are for rolling down

just like the air is for breathing, even in the fine print, even in
insomnia, even when I’m using the end times to drown you out.


I Need Your Love, Too

(after Waxahatchee)

I always wake up out of breath, as if kissed
silent in my sleep, a heavy song weighing soft like

piano keys in my chest. The bird at my window
sings like a stranger and I love her anyway, scrub

the nightmare from my teeth and wash it down
the drain, call my doctor about a new antacid

so I might spin these dreams into gold. I sit with
my journal holding all its blank pages and know

time has passed only because my roots are growing
in spun with silver. Today is another day in which

the moon is inexorable from the tide and I can still
close my eyes and feel the chill of a saline flush

entering my arm. The sugar of my bones is aching
and still I stand in warm water and feel nothing

and I think my body is electric and dead. I lean in
and the salted sky offers to fill me and the world is

always in and out of ending and here I am writing
my name in the dust because I love you is a promise

that I’ll stay alive. I wonder if those lilac trees are
still standing—it’s been so long since I’ve visited

in spring and that air is so, so heavy that I have to
sit down angry and slow, that memory a bouquet

of ghosts, the perfume in my palms. Maybe there’s
an entire parallel universe for those of us with this

fear of kismet. In this world I drink the water and
wait to feel something. Outside in the sun the oaks

shake without worry and every day becomes Thursday
and Thursday and Thursday and I fill myself with

medicine to mark the passage of time. I fill myself
with words to hold the rain. When I wake up, I find

that the truth is already embroidered down my spine
but even on the days when a tarot card could knock

me down I am opening the windows to whisper
I love you so that the sky might deliver a message.

E. Kristin Anderson is a poet and glitter enthusiast living mostly at a Starbucks somewhere in Austin, TX. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture, and her work has been widely published in magazines. She is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including A Guide for the Practical Abductee, Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I Wrote to Prince in the Middle of the Night, We’re Doing Witchcraft, 7 seventeen XVII, and Behind, All You’ve Got. Kristin is a poetry reader at Cotton Xenomorph and an editorial assistant at Porkbelly Press.