Holly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, “The Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches writing classes at the Loft Literary Center. Her published books include the nonfiction books Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, A Brief History of Nordeast Minneapolis; the poetry books Late-Night Reading for Hardworking Construction Men (The Moon Publishing) and The Smell of Snow (ELJ Publications); and a novel, The Book Of (Damnation Books).Her needlepoints and beadwork have recently appeared on the covers of The Grey Sparrow Journal, QWERTY Magazine, and Kiki Magazine.
this was the end she would never see.
Waiting to Die
tunneling persistently through a song of summer night
dry flesh growing moist, absorbing damp earth
orchids throb vainly, left behind
by children in honor of memories
warped and bastardized.
his lungs suck at air in the hot summer night
the man standing in the shadows, not really alive
moist flesh sloughing off, white bones poking through.
fingers rooting fleshless in the settled earth.
Strapped to her body, weighing not nearly enough
to make the sunrise it did when she hit
the mushroom cloud that lit up the desert for miles around
it would have been beautiful if anyone
had been left to see it.
She opened her eyes
just as the dots became cars on the road
people in the street
tiny, white blocks became buildings and houses
an end she did not want to see.
The wind dragged against her, but not enough
to stop her fall, just enough
to pull roughly at her hair, to open the top button of her shirt
with fingers as cold and rough as death.
It was like sunrise when she hit, if the sun
could erupt from the middle of the earth, instead of rising around the edge of it
could pour out of broken concrete like a an angry phoenix
wheels clack and crash and bang and smash as it
roars down the tracks, boxcars and bright lights
and splintering wood and spray-painted metal
the rush of the wind sucking everything into
its wake a dragon a monster
my bright-eyed salvation
oh, the whirr of noisy metal wheels as I choose my spot
on the landing, the widening eyes
of the people to the right of me
the people to the left of me
as they realize what I mean to dothis is happening today.
I let the horse live
because we were both going nowhere, he
with his leg twisted beneath him, lying on the ground
me, with my pockets empty and nothing but a horse
to keep me company.
He couldn’t run even after his leg healed up
couldn’t carry much on his back without stumbling
so I set up camp where the accident had happened
spent most nights sleeping against the horse’s warm back.
Eventually other people came through the valley
wanted to talk to me, mostly
to ask directions, ask where the nearest town was
ask what I was doing, sitting there, propped up against a lame horse.
I mostly pretended I was too simple to answer
only responding when they asked me why I didn’t just kill the
poor old crooked no-good beast
told them it was none of their business what I didwith my own damned horse.
there were eventually too many miles between us
to let it die
where it fell.
ironically, because I didn’t kill it
and let it hobble, burdenless, behind me as we traveled
I had a superior traveling companion:
one that didn’t interrupt when I spokenever said anything itself.