September 1, 2016

Five poems by Holly Day: "What If," "Charity," "Britomartis," "All This Measuring of Truth," and "The Dance."

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 inNew Ohio Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.

Sun Empty Room by Edward Hopper

What If

if one of us was to move away, what would
happen to the other piece
of the puzzle that makes up our neighborhood, would
the people who move into your empty house

fit in as well with my own hopes and dreams? when that
day comes, when the moving trucks pull up to take
away every trace of you and your family, will I
be able to stand the empty look

of the windows of your house
that first night?


Spiders don’t like to be caged
even if they don’t ever go anywhere, or even if it’s for their own good.
After a couple of days
they stop making webs across the glass
stop scouring the perimeter of the tank
stop trying to push their legs through the fine mesh
of the lid. Instead, they eventually fall

to huddle in a corner, legs curled around their bodies
as if in self-embrace, self-defense and finally,
they just die, fade into dried-out
exoskeletons, fur-covered carapaces
indistinguishable from the corpses that tumble out
of the vacuum cleaner bag each spring.


If it had happened to an animal
no one would have noticed. Eventually
kittens would have tumbled out of the barn
a horse would have foaled in the field
a dog would have crawled, shaking, out of the alley
still panting from an unfortunate labor
tail soaked in blood.

A bird spreads its wings when it leaps from a cliff
leaves its nest of tiny mouths and unformed wings
only briefly in search of food, does not fall
straight onto the rocks below
into the cold embrace of rending waves
does not leave one half of a story
for you to unfold.

All This Measuring of Truth

If an ocean is named after a king who killed himself
thinking his son dead after battling a minotaur or slain by Amazons
does that mean that king was real, and if so
does it mean that his son was real
and the monsters were real
and the heroes in all of the related stories were real?

If a mountain is named as the home of a god
and that peak can be climbed
and the remains of a palace, or a whole palace, are found
does that mean that god is real
and the stories are real
and all of it’s true?

english garden edited 2.jpg
"The Garden" Artwork submitted by Anonymous

 The Dance

you’ve finally caught her, across the room, promises of
fairy tale castles and big screen love-
scenes in your eyes—I remember being her, once
in the days before I became a rotting corpse
waiting by the telephone, in the dark, in
our bed, always waiting for you
to come back home.

one last pastel-colored cocktail and she is yours for
ever, or just tonight, whatever you decide her role
will be. she glides through the walls of
human flesh toward you as if summoned, and here, far
away, I know exactly what you are
thinking, lying here, rotting from my hollow places
begging for just one last bite from
your hard, sharp axe, before you
plow me under.

~Holly Day

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