Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Poetry By Holly Day

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in New Ohio Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.             

             The Beast At Your Side

There was a time when I treasured being alone
vaguely dreamed of giving birth in a den to children
that would someday also leave me blissfully alone.
I could have stayed hidden in that den forever
living off of rotting carrion and cold ramen.

I treasured my own scent before I met you
I treasured my space and the few things that were mine
had my own dreams that seemed very bright and important
thought I was strong.

Before I met you, I was pure beast, a sleeked-furred creature
hiding in the dark, teeth sharp and bared
a completely different creature than what lies in your bed
waiting for you to lumber in at night
to claim me as yours.

            What There Is to Lose

I pretend to be content with our conversations
because I still like having sex with him
and I am afraid that, even after all these years
that if I don’t keep him talking
don’t act interested in what he’s saying
he might decide to leave. Even after sleeping beside him
for more than a decade
I’m afraid that if I don’t hang on every word he says
nod approvingly at all the right moments
in his ramblings about cars and work
and the driving conditions to and from work
that he’ll decide I’m also not very interesting
wonder why he’s sitting next to me at all.

Some days, I’m afraid to even let him go outside
in case he runs into the woman he’s supposed to be with
the one who finds all these musings on
back spasms and diarrhea attacks,
his problems with his mother
his problems with my mother
all the ways you can use Chinese pepper salt to enhance your cooking
completely fascinating and absorbing and yes
I know she is somewhere out there

waiting in the mismatched groves of birch and pine outside our home
hungering for what I will never let her have.

            My Cat

In my cat’s dreams
the world is safer, softer, quieter.
no garbage trucks rumble by at 5 a.m.,
no mailman rattles the front door at noon.
I know this because

when I sleep with my cat
his paw pressed up against my cheek
I dream only of quiet things:
small birds by the feeder, their footprints leaving
jagged hieroglyphics in the snow
tiny rabbits chirping in the undergrowth

warm sunshine
filtered through green summer leaves.


            An Act Never Actually Committed

I remember my father’s
neatly-typed suicide notes
left in conspicuous places
around the house for us to find
when we came home from school

practicing for the day he would
go through with his threats, a fire drill
for something truly awful.
I watch my son sleep and wonder
if his dreams are filled with the worry
mine once were.


avoiding the stares of the other visitors, he pushes his way down the aisle
to her room and close to the edge
of the hospital bed. last week, the beautiful woman was
hurtling through the air on the back of a horse
and now she would never walk again.

her breathing is so quiet he can barely hear it over the sound
of the equipment in the hospital room. a noisy machine breathes for her
but underneath it all is her own breath, soft,
a rattle of lungs inflating, deflating
a tiny whisper of life. he is here

because he knows from his own experience
her friends will all eventually abandon her, humbled
at the loss of her mobility, frightened
by her sudden dependence on them. he is here
to let her know

that no matter how beautiful she is, how beautiful she still is
she will always be alone.

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