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Holly Day
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She Writes

 

Holly Day

 

 

 

          to tell me

she’s been admitted to the hospital

that the tumor has spread

from her stomach

to her pancreas

she doesn’t have much time left

 

we will never get to be

those two crazy eighty-year-olds

we imagined at twenty

living in the Louisiana swamp with a houseful of cats

matching rocking chairs on a porch made of old

railroad ties

 

we will never find each other

after our husbands die of old age

never have the chance to smile and say

 

“now we can get on with our lives”

 

 

 

 

Conversations With My Father

 

by Holly Day

 

 

there’s a moment of silence and the questions

push their way into my head, was I loved as a child, was I

the mistake I always felt like, why did I

always feel so alone. it’s a familiar plug

 

in the lull, and I rush to fill the gaping hole

with more talk about the weather, my job

my own children and the bright things they’re doing.

I don’t talk about what it was like

 

stumbling across his neatly-typed suicide notes

coming home to an empty house after school

the nights I spent alone, wondering where my parents were

wondering if it was all my fault.

 

 

The Woman

 

By Holly Day

 

I used to wonder if I’d recognize her

if I passed on her on the street

if there would be some spark of recognition

in her eyes

 

years passed, and I wondered

if I had brothers and sisters

out there, not worrying so much

about the mother who left me

but still curious about family

 

now I don’t care. Not really.

my mother thought 12 years old

was old enough to walk away from

some archaic concept of adulthood

and if she didn’t need me then

I certainly don’t need her now.

 

 

 

 

The Man in the House

 

by Holly Day

 

 

 

There could be corpses buried beneath

the mounds of debris and trash in his backyard—the neighbors

can only wildly speculate. There could be

a fortune in knickknacks or baseball cards

stacked in dusty piles on shelves inside the house

but no one ever goes in

and no one ever comes out.

 

When a cat disappears from the neighborhood, children whisper

that the man in the house got it, that he eats cats. Sometimes, though,

a cat reappears on its owner’s doorstep

well-fed and clean, and then children whisper

that that is the cat that got away, that the man in the house

likes to fatten them up before he eats them.

 

I thought I saw him once, opening the front door just wide enough

to push aside the dead leaves accumulating on the stoop

but it was so quick

it might have been my imagination.



The Last Thought Before

 

by Holly Day

 

 

 

her friends gathered around her bed and tried to distract her

or maybe frighten her away from the edge of death,

threatened to leave her all alone

if she didn’t get better soon. she just looked past them

out the streaky glass of the hospital room window                                       

imagined fields of corn unfolding under the onslaught of rain

everything she was before fading into a black spot on the horizon.

 

there were more inane words of encouragement

from her parents, her lover, a stranger who had seen the accident

from the rails of a highway overpass

who described in detail the way the car flipped over the road divider

as though it had been a planned act of agility. she remembered seeing

rabbits scurrying out of the way as she spun out of control

a deer staring, curious, from the safety of a nearby stand of birch and fir

brittle, yellow cornstalks rising in waves to catch the car as it finally fell.



Laundry Day

 

by Holly Day

 

 

 

I wake to find that the vampire

has done my laundry, and he has turned

everything pink. There are crumbled bits of bone

trapped in the wrinkles in my sheets

smooth and white like chunks of St. Petersburg marble.

 

He seems so proud of himself, that he’s done my laundry

all by himself

(and without me even asking!)

that I pretend to be pleased with my pink sheets,

my pink clothes. I wonder

what he put in the wash to make everything turn so pink—

a red sock, a potholder, a cat

another woman

 

I think about asking, but I

don’t want to know.



 

 

 

 

The Storm

 

By Holly Day

 

 

Snow fills the sky, thick

as bees. The lights

of the city glitter far away, like stars

lured to the ground.

 

Slabs of sidewalk disappear

beneath the snow, quiet

and still and invisible—

we could become lost

here, in our own neighborhood

 

be forced to seek shelter in a neighbor’s garage

freeze to death minutes from our own front door.

 

 

 

 

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.



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