Saturday, June 27, 2015

Poetry By Holly Day

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her recently published books include Music Theory for Dummies (3rd edition), Piano All-in-One for Dummies, The Book Of, and Nordeast Minneapolis: A History.  


the irony is not lost on me: checking
strips of treated paper every Monday, every Friday
praying and praying and failing to see
a “plus” sign appear in
the second window of the pregnancy test.

the irony is not lost on me: five years before
seeing this same sign made me
think briefly of suicide, led me to a life
I never would have lived, left me with a child
I would now die to have more of
if they could only be just like him.

the irony is not lost on me: two years, a single mother dating
squeaking by safely, using various forms
of uncomfortable contraception, and now
Husband #2 and I
can’t conceive. it’s ironic to think
that after the absolute hell #1 put me through
abuse, divorce, and complete financial abandonment
I owe him something
for giving me my son.

            Take It

folded wolf
soft flesh beside me, I
am so hot, unfurls into something I know

baby bird above me, wolf
clutched in its beak, I
touch the white skeleton man, push it up, I know

what you want, man-child, wolf
creature, put it in my head, through my head, I
dream in kaleidoscopes, know

love for fractions of seconds, wrap me in sick sweat, wolf
spit, take this burning I
am almost burning--rip me up, make me know.

            Open Plains Cut By Highways

Caterpillars and bridges
rise and fall like waves, there is
always another

road that starts at the point that
the bottom step ends, where
your tiny bare feet stumble on

the gravel path, determined
to run away from me even
now.  The wind lifts the hem

of my cotton dress, hold
it down at the edge here
and here, with one tiny

hand that will someday too near turn
into an adult hand,
in these moments when tomorrow

and yesterday and nothing
all matter equally,
so long as there are bridges

and roads that run forever.


I’m sorry
I think to the cockroaches that squish under my boots
as I walk home along the roaring breakers of ocean surf
on a thin strip of sidewalk crumbling slowly to sand. In the darker shadows
cat-sized rats scurry over concrete pilings, carrying greasy chip bags
hamburger wrappers and bits of rotting fruit in their mouths
claiming the fetid remains of the day for a midnight feast.
Years before, these rats and roaches would have been in hiding
in the ramshackle brick houses and empty warehouse spaces that used
to line this part of town, but now that all those old buildings are gone
and the new buildings, mostly condos, are too brightly lit for vermin
the rats and the roaches have all come down to the beach. The new condo owners
might have chased away the junkies and the whores
and the homeless drunks with their overflowing shopping carts
but the rats and the roaches are here to stay.

            Revelations in the Dark

I’ve heard
sometimes prisoners in solitary
grow so lonely they tame
spiders, lure them to their cells by
plucking single
hairs from their heads and playing them like
guitar strings

the sound of a mother
spider calling out
to her children
by tapping on her web

if the memory
of some
comforting mother-spider figure could
make a spider like that one
staring at me
from the dark corner of my room
come running like a tardy child
expecting dinner

how awful and terrifying can it really be?

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