July 6, 2018

Five Poems by Holly Day: "The Flood", "I am Sitting on the Edge of a Lake", "Faith" "Because I Know" and "With My Daughter"

Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press), I'm in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.), and Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), will be out mid-2018. The Yellow Dot of a Daisy is already out on Alien Buddha Press.


The Flood

The coffins float to the surface
like rebellious architecture, buoyed by the floodwaters
that have shaken everything loose. We pass sandbags
hand over hand to build a wall between us and the river
shouting panicked instructions to the trucks to bring more.

The water pouring in from the river is frigid and cold
numbing ankles and hands, but the water
running off of the bloated cemetery is warm, as though the water
is carrying the last breath and embrace of the dead
across the grounds to keep us from freezing.

I Am Sitting on the Edge of a Lake

Next to me, toes in the water, my daughter
is writing a poem. She wriggles against the itch
of dry grass pricking her bare legs
tries to focus on the task.

I smile and nod and resist the urge
to launch into lectures on form and process
as she stop after each line to show me
what she’s written. I want to tell her
how beautiful her voice is, how beautiful her poem is
but I’m afraid she’ll stop writing.


Out in my garden are flowers, coiled like springs
waiting to unfurl from the soil
fill my garden with song. I know they’re underfoot
beneath the ice and the snow
because I have faith.

If you ask me to explain myself, I can tell you
about how every spring, the maple out front
sends thousands of fluttering seeds into the air
most of which end up in the gutter
hundreds more get raked into the compost pit

one more two almost become trees. This will go on
until my venerable maple dies, or until I’m too old
to bend over to pull errant saplings out of my flower bed.
I don’t really know anything other than this.

Because I Know

I never had the guts to rip a one-night-stand off
or actually, I never thought of doing it at all, back when I was single.
I hear stories from girls about how they usually sneak a twenty or a hundred
out of a guy’s wallet while he’s sleeping, because they think they’ve earned it somehow
and maybe they have, and I’m the one with the problem,
missed opportunities.

I know there have been a few times that I’ve checked my own wallet
before leaving a man’s bed, just in case he thought
he was owed something for being nice enough to fuck me.
And if a guy came back to my place, I always made sure to cram my own wallet
under the bathroom sink, behind the tampons and the towels
just in case.

With My Daughter

Crows and starlings scatter at the shotgun crack of the ice
shifting and splintering into blue-gray shards.
There is water running in the falls again, a thin trickle
moving beneath the snow
just enough to break through thoughts of winter.

We stand on the bank of the creek, hand in hand, as we’ve done
every winter since she was born, watching the ice shake loose
in great, heavy sheets, crashing like thunder
on the rocks below.

Holly Day

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