Down in the Dirt I’ll Show You the Mystery of Carnivorous Silence

(After the X-Files)

E. Kristin Anderson


There’s no such thing as safety       even in a quiet town—            just count
the monsters you have known       the ones who slip by in shadows because we
would rather pretend that monsters belong to big cities.             To other towns    

far from here.       We cover the grotesque with fresh soil         pound it down
under our feet      leave safeguards at home because        any real armor means
we have a reason to be afraid      to stay afraid       everywhere.       In a dry field

Scully witnesses the animal         and the human       through binoculars.      Surely
the grass scratches at her ankles.          And while it’s animal to defend a territory
it’s human to use tools—         to enhance violence        with violence.        This is

a landscape of our most vulgar instincts.      There is nothing supernatural here
and even the pigs will mutiny.       Scully’s flashlight is an indelicate dawn       in this
house that creaks at every whisper       and every step holds disaster in the brutality

we call tradition.        The brutality of genetics.        Of every lie we pass down
as kindness or comfort.                And I assure you:         Stay in a place so long
that you know where all the cracks are and         you’ll eventually jump into one

and ache there forever.           We build new homes         with or without children
with or without song.      There is no such thing as safe.          I’ll follow Scully into
her childlessness     back to the city        where there are too many cracks to count.



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.