This Is as Bitter as the Fire

A Golden Shovel after Kesha

by E. Kristin Anderson

I know that salt purifies—still I spit it out red. I’m busy and
I’ll blame the hurricane—the sort of heart that screams—I
taste velvet in the rain, feel it near me, seething soft. I know

how summer is always ready to burn my blood. I’m in that

blackberry bramble, just hiding from the ghosts. I know I’m
a body in America. I’m a body full of benzos and love—still
I set a spell howling from my hips, clear and real. I fucked

the oak and he turned away—I am the message he wound up
tight with twine. I tear out my teeth, bury them all in ash, but
they don’t grow. Weight me with lavender and pearls—aren’t

I like the magpie? Leave your silver here and remember: We

don’t answer phone calls. I follow this open door holding all
my waking thoughts as if the windy sky could catch them, my
knuckles sore, making fists; still I swallow apple seeds in love.

E. Kristin Anderson is a poet, Starbucks connoisseur, and glitter enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press), and Hysteria: Writing the female body (Sable Books, forthcoming).  Kristin is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including A Guide for the Practical Abductee (Red Bird Chapbooks), 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 nights at The New Yorker. Find her online at and on twitter at @ek_anderson.