I wish my dreams
would stop showing me
Emily Brontë punishing her beloved dog, Keeper
when he pawed muddily across her bedsheets—
his whines slowly subsided.
The contemporary biographer
described this as evidence of good
discipline, a strong character,
for after it was over, she carried him
to the bath and kissed him better.
Today in the Midwest, a hand
covers my stomach and listens
for breath. I laugh and
go somewhere, remember
the way you marveled
at my long hair, the two of us
feather soft and drunk
together. We were happy then,
despite our brittle longing;
we were not liars, only misled.
Erika Nestor is from the Midwest. Her work appears and is forthcoming in LEVELER, DIALOGIST, Passages North, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in poetry from the Helen Zell Writers' Program.