Still the Thorns, I’m Not Running

(a golden shovel after Kesha)
by E. Kristin Anderson

After midnight I see it coming: a finale marked in gravel and salt. I
come down for sinner’s stripes, wear these clothes like queens do,
take the stairs slowly, out of the flood and into blue. This is what

the sun is for; still in the night I collect stars and I collect bees and I

keep them in mason jars, like little yellow dreams, my magic. I want
another long winter to wake the radio and bring me love; you say
such rot. Never mind. Here is sweet dawn passing through—what

might be pleasure. Listen: The mockingbird sings a car alarm and you

scream like a cement wall—empty. Steel takes my heaven and I say
it back with nails, one for one. I know the iron. When I bite you I
remember the ancient magnolia—her arms tangle the years, work

reading Tarot for beetles and ghosts. I’m taking back something real

for the lonely, this devil’s rope of honeysuckle and rose frozen hard
as teeth. When I whistle in the dark I’ll call a holy death for every
vein in my hand, thin from caffeine. I’ll pull open the mouth of day.