Author: Kristin Sanders

Kristin Sanders is the author of the chapbook, Orthorexia (Dancing Girl Press). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Everyday Genius, Octopus, Tenderloin, Strange Machine, HTMLGiant, and elsewhere. She is very much a Californian. She currently teaches at Loyola University New Orleans and is a poetry editor at the New Orleans Review. Her newest project is Books I Read By Women.

from This is a map of their watching me


Fig. 6: God, it hurts just to watch it.

If I were going to be completely honest, I’d say I’m sorry for turning away. For saying yes in the first place. For pretending, for removing my makeup at the best part. For not maintaining the illusion of edges, for letting you in, for wearing only my most revealing skin and nails. I’d say, you cannot look at me now. It would hurt too much, to see me wrapped and unwrapped in all the wrong places, to see the bright artificial light reflecting off the mirrored glass inside my holes. To see yourself there.


Fig. 9: An outline is taking shape

She was always pulling her body into the smallest spaces. Folding in, wrapping pale arms around or behind her head, a braid of limbs. A halo. We were impressed. We liked things tight, the luggage of her, we could carry her everywhere.


Fig. 15: They always want me to look a certain way and I am only happy
when pleasing them.

Which means I must erase my mind. Which means I must fill and empty, fill and empty and erase. Which means I must be fill and empty, they are fill and I accept and empty. Clean it out. Clean it. Which means want less, take less. I have to which means a certain thing for them. I do even if and who are they, which means I must. I which means them because they said so. What do I have if not their approval. Which means I must. Was I sitting there looking the right way because if I was not I must. Must clean it out. Which means there was something there before them. They thought to buy me a look and it stuck. It sticks on me, it must. If I do it right, let it stick and fill and empty it afterwards it will be clean for them. I must. If they like the look, the pose, the yes-now I can have more, want less. What luck. This is me making a way in their world. I am moving my feet. Moving my feet where my mind was. Look at what might happen, look at all these little thoughts on the floor.


Fig. 15: When it starts to hurt is when I begin to like it.

The repetition of images reminds you of what. Can you love something unnamed. You get used to being in a little room, alone. Tighten up. Hold it in don’t say it to anyone. Do we never lose the need. Think of what can be hidden by holding your limbs a certain way. Or what you have to show to be understood. This is what desire feels like. It is easy to be alone. It only hurts when I remember all the other people. And the way they touched me, how hard it didn’t work. How hard they tried.