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 and glitter enthusiast living mostly at a Starbucks somewhere in Austin, Texas. A Connecticut College alumna with a B.A. in classical studies, Kristin’s work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The Texas Review, The Pinch, Barrelhouse Online, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and FreezeRay Poetry. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press) and 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, forthcoming). Kristin is an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked the night shift at The New Yorker. Find her online at and on twitter at @ek_anderson.