The Same, the Same, Trying to Change (After Prince)

By E. Kristin Anderson

Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. 
Far far away from here.  –Jenny, Forrest Gump

I draw on these sounds for
some sense of reality—windows
are glass and I see my slack-jawed
reflection there.

I flick through albums, imagine
fingers on cardboard jackets,
lace gloves that must be removed
to handle these tomes.

What is a book if not a vehicle
for life? Americans lay in the street
and look for meaning in the clouds.

Americans walk by libraries
on the way to Starbucks, look
for answers in the ice and foam.

What is a synthesizer? Some musician’s
Keurig, striking drums as coffee drips
into my veins and I shield my ears with
your songs and stare at another blank page.

I imagine everything purple—
my fingernails, the highway roads,
the Hummer I watch as it speeds
through the parking lot.

I curse myself as I wonder if
it will roll and start a fire.
And, of course, I want to
burn it down, one pillar at a time.

I’ve given up on rose-tinted glasses
and instead throw shade passing
the dark-tinted windows at the 7-Eleven.
What secrets are so important?

If I were some kinda friend, what would we
steal, one by one, in perfect rain, cool water
changing the world as we reach
for the clouds with all the answers?

I’m holding out my hand
because you saved my life once.
Don’t worry. Your job is done.
I’ll be here, waiting for the flood.

Waiting for the flood waters
to rise again, so I might dip
my toes in and remember
what art feels like.


E. Kristin Anderson is a Pushcart-nominated poet and author who grew up in Westbrook, Maine and is a graduate of Connecticut College. She has a fancy diploma that says “B.A. in Classics,” which makes her sound smart but has not helped her get any jobs in Ancient Rome. Kristin is the co-editor of Dear Teen Me, an anthology based on the popular website and her YA memoir The Summer of Unraveling is forthcoming in 2017 from ELJ Publications. Her poetry has been published worldwide in many magazines and anthologies and she is the author of seven chapbooks 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, 2015), 17 Days (ELJ Publications) Fire in the Sky (Grey Book Press), and She Witnesses (forthcoming from dancing girl press). Kristin an editor at NonBinary Review, helps make books at Lucky Bastard Press, and is a poetry editor at Found Poetry Review. Once upon a time she worked at The New Yorker. She now lives in Austin, Texas where she works as a freelance editor and is trying to trick someone into publishing her full-length collection of erasure poems based on women’s and teen magazines. She blogs at and tweets at @ek_anderson.

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