The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Narrow Bridge by Robbi Nester


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from Narrow Bridge by Robbi Nester, released by Main Street Rag in 2019. 

Past the Breakers

When I was five, my father
took me to the spot where
waves begin, a hollowing
of sand beneath my feet.
I thought that he would
hold me
rest me on the waves’ soft
shoulders, but instead,
he tossed me into glass-green swells.
I sank, cold water covering my mouth
and nose, an airless prison.

Eventually, he yanked me upward by an arm.

Through tears, I saw
my mother waving
from a bright, striped towel.
Why did my father
exercise such cruelty
over my body? Perhaps
to show control. Perhaps
to prove he held
my life in his hard hands.


Robbi Nester lives and writes in Southern California. She is the author of four published books of poems and editor of three anthologies. A retired college educator, she was elected in 2011 to the Academy of American Poets. Currently, she writes reviews and curates two poetry reading series as well as being an editorial consultant on the New Voices Project. Her poetry, reviews, and other writing appear widely in journals and anthologies.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.

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