NURTURING, BY Anna Sandy-Elrod
When I begin considering pregnancy,
I dream, three nights in a row, of the boy
I loved in my teenage years. Each morning,
I wake thinking of his hands—hard
on the steering wheel as he swerved
toward a small, darting squirrel,
flattened it beneath his heavy tires
and smirked. I was raised to desire a little
cruelty, and I’m sorry for my want of it.
I dug my nails into the undersides
of my hands and stared, silent, at the tiny
death in the road behind us. How he would
crush a thing just to prove he could.
I dream of him, the way my hands reached
and withdrew. My husband sleeps beside
me and knows nothing of how I used
to thrill at being hurt. I tell myself I deserve,
now, to make something innocent and fragile.
I tell myself all my waking hours.
Anna Sandy-Elrod is a PhD poet and Editor of Birdcoat Quarterly, as well as Ghost Peach Press. Her work can be found in places like the North American Review, Threepenny Review, Green Mountains Review, Fugue, Calyx, and others. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, three cats, and one tiny dog.