The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: E. Kristin Anderson’s “A Guide for the Practical Abductee”


The Leeds Baby

I couldn’t keep the child – the nurse said as much
as the doctor pulled its body from inside me.

Of course I’d whispered curses on these lips. But this is quotidian
in the cold North East, standing mere moments from witchery.

The child, though – shouldn’t he be innocent? Even when Hell
has molded bones into wings, stretched the eyes red,
hunched the boy’s back into a desperate “U.”

I loathed the thing, and yet, as Mother, I sent the nurse away,
clutched my baby, nursed him. Here is humanity, I thought.

Nights, I watch him sneak out his window at the side of the house.
Look, I think, God’s little gift is off to play in the woods.

He believes me ignorant. But mothers have a sixth sense
                          when it comes to wayward sons.

This selection comes from E. Kristin Anderson’s A Guide for the Practical Abductee, available now from Red Bird Chapbooks. Purchase your copy here!

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 ofDear 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 five chapbooks: A Jab of Deep Urgency (Finishing Line Press) and 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), Acoustic Battery Life (forthcoming from ELJ Publications) and 17 Days (forthcoming from Choose the Sword 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, TX where she works as a freelance editor and writing coach 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.

Hunter Parsons is a senior at Kalamazoo College pursuing a degree in English with a writing emphasis. She has been published in The Cauldron, Kalamazoo College’s literary magazine, and is being mentored by poet Diane Seuss. When she’s not writing, being a plant mom, or advocating for young women’s self esteem, Hunter is baking and organizing her ever-growing make-up collection.

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