The Poet, by Holly Day

The Poet
by Holly Day

The ship crashes against the rocks and a poem
Forms in her head right as she flies over the railing
Something so perfect and beautiful it must be written down
Must be remembered. She invokes the first stanza

For the otters watching curiously from the rocks,
The seals lounging carelessly on the beach
The dolphins she knows must be lurking just past the shallows
Because there are always dolphins watching shipwrecks
And dolphins are smart and literate enough to understand.

She shouts the lines as clearly as she can
Despite the screaming of the other passengers
Despite the rending, grinding agony of the hull against the rocks
Despite the shrieks of the confused seagulls whirling overhead
Because she knows this is a poem that cannot be lost
And somebody has to be left behind to carry it on.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

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Under the Lights, by Holly Day

Under the Lights
by Holly Day

I open my mouth and imagine birds are going to fly out
That inside me are flocks of birds that have struggled
With captivity for years. I will the birds to take form
Encourage them to force their way through my body, through my skin
Can almost feel their tiny claws struggling to find purchase
Along the slick, wet meat inside my chest.

Nothing comes out and I am empty, I don’t understand
I thought there was something better than me in here. The audience
Stares at me in impatient confusion from rows of folded metal chairs
they came here to see me do something special
they came to see something wonderful, or just something.
The bird song I thought I had dies in my throat, comes out finally

As only a croak, a whisper, a quiet and stuttering end.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

The Temporary Nature of Poetry, by Holly Day

The Temporary Nature of Poetry
by Holly Day

there’s no need to balance color
to be paced to a danceable beat

just turn the page
prepare the wooden frame
wrap the painting around your thoughts
pound the nails in one at a time

there’s no need to labor to match words
to music, to craft lyrics of need
just close your eyes
stop talking.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

And Only Infrequently, by Holly Day

And Only Infrequently
by Holly Day

We exchange pictures through the mail because words
aren’t good enough. The passage of time is explained
through the faces of strangers, in the pictures of children
only known in person as tiny, warm babies
coiled and asleep, newly born. The envelopes

also contain pictures of people I know
but older, grayer, tired. My sister’s gap-toothed smile
has been replaced by the tight grin
of a woman with perfect teeth
standing next to her own family—her goofy college sweetheart
is now a man holding hands with a toddler.
I put pictures of me, my children, their father
in a similar envelope
seal it without looking

without wanting to look
still in denial that time
has passed at this end as well.

Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle. Her nonfiction publications include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano and Keyboard All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and Stillwater, Minnesota: A History. 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, with The Yellow Dot of a Daisy already out on Alien Buddha Press.

Floating Away, by Holly Day

       Floating Away
by Holly Day

I put the tiny boat
in the water and watch it
float away. Somewhere,
someday,

someone
will pull it out of the water,
either intact
or as a sodden, soggy newspaper mess, find

a tiny plastic bag
full of ashes
a sprig of dead lavender
your photograph, our wedding rings

and wonder

what it all means.

Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle. Her nonfiction publications include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano and Keyboard All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and Stillwater, Minnesota: A History. 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, with The Yellow Dot of a Daisy already out on Alien Buddha Press.

I Am Sitting on the Edge of a Lake, by Holly Day

I Am Sitting on the Edge of a Lake
by Holly Day

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 stops 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 if I do
she’ll stop writing.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

In Wait, by Holly Day

In Wait
by Holly Day

I wrap my thoughts around the egg inside me
tie my nest with hopes and dreams
will my body full of feathers
fluff and bubblewrap.

Each step leads me to disaster. I
could trip and fall and lose it all.

I wrap myself in blankets and pills
cradle my stomach in warmth
close windows against drafts and rain
barricade the door against wolves outside.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

The Flood, by Holly Day

The Flood
by Holly Day

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.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

The Morning After a Funeral We Didn’t Attend, by Holly Day

The Morning After a Funeral We Didn’t Attend
by Holly Day

I found her the next morning, feeding stacks of old birthday cards
handwritten letters into the paper shredder. “He never loved me,” she said
by way of explanation, calmly feeding the first of a pile of faded photographs
into the shredder as I watched. “There’s bacon in the kitchen.”

I tried to reach out to stop her hand from pushing more and more
of my grandfather into the metal shears that were snipping him down to nothing
but it was her father first, my grandfather second, what right did I have?
“He loved you,” I said, watching helpless
as a picture of a blond-haired girl in pigtails
holding onto the outstretched darker hand of a man
fell into the metal waste basket in irretrievable strips.
She laughed and waved a thick handful of bills at me

justification for erasing her father so completely.
“How do you write someone you love out of your will?” she asked.
“Why is my stepsister getting everything? He even forgot about you!”
I almost said something about
how she hadn’t visited her father for years, while her stepmother’s family
had been a constant in his life up to the end,
how maybe there wasn’t anything left
after the nursing home and the hospice, but I don’t, because
that’s my father’s job.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

Time Passes, by Holly Day

Time Passes
by Holly Day

There are people I once saw young on TV
that are now old on TV. I refuse to admit
that this means I’ve grown old as well
that the passage of time has split to bypass me
like the river that split to pass around Moses
in that movie I saw
with that guy who’s now dead.

My children keep getting older
even though I tell them
they don’t have to. I show them how time
has forgotten me in its wake
that I’m the same person I was
before they were born they
don’t believe me.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.