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erika nestor


A constant bloat, sharpening awareness

of the sea in my body, how it floats

heavy in and behind my eyes. And yet, my lips dry.

Of course, it did not begin with this

but symptoms are easier than cause.

On TV the Beach Boys are levitating like souls

might. Come watch! It’s awesome! Mom calling me

from bed. How I used to shout having found

a bird, a baby deer in the yard. Something dumb

and innocent. I default to quiet sentences now, and first

person–when I lost you something else left,

a leavening measure of flour, or care, even

what I sound like right now, turned into myself,

like a sickled foot in ballet, when toes

curl in improperly, appearing deformed. There’s

a dirty resplendence in sorrow, how in a lake when

the seaweed and lily pads rot a glistening, sweet

scent rises; we in the rowboat cover our noses

but can’t look away. When I hear a loon call

and first mistake it for a woman’s scream I know,

selfishly: sometime–somehow: you’ll come back

to me. I wonder how to stop, blame the sugar

in the pie, the pill I took a day late, the blue

computer light I let penetrate each day. My heart beats

and beats like it is trying to make itself shut up

but you were my WebMD and told me all the things

that weren’t wrong with me. So we sleep

in the dark room that only one of us

can leave. But wait—if you forget the key—



Erika Nestor is an MFA candidate at the Helen Zell Writers' Program. While an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, she was the recipient of the Roy W. Cowden Fellowship, the Hopwood Underclassmen Poetry Award, and the Hopwood Undergraduate Poetry Award. She hails from Ann Arbor via Madison, Wisconsin.

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