Once again, winter is here and I don’t know where the time went. The morning glory vines spread over the trellis out back are completely withered and black, and almost all of the leaves are gone from the trees. The little field mice are venturing closer and closer to the house, looking for entrances from which to escape the cold at the first hint of snow.
Along the Shore
We walk hand in hand between the concrete pilings, mindful
Of broken beer bottles and the occasional raccoon-gnawed dead fish.
She squeals as we step into the water, lets go of my hand
To chase after the tiny silver fry darting away from her shadow.
Just a few feet away from us, the sand slopes sharply
Into a pocket of darkness. I point out the deep blue shadows
Of danger just ahead of us, warn her to stay close, stay right by me.
She asks me if there are monsters in those depths
Some great river snake coiled at the bottom of the murky sinkhole
Giant sturgeons slumbering beyond the fishermen’s reach.
She asks about these things in such hushed, reverent tones,
That I am aglow with delight at this tiny glimpse
Of the world inside my daughter’s head.
The Consequences of Truth
I miss the birds that used to fly overhead
when my son was small, when we used to sit together
and watch the geese in their honking flocks
through our tiny apartment window in our tiny apartment.
He’d ask me where they were coming from and I’d
make up all the exotic places they’d been
palaces in China where they visited long-dead emperors
stuccoed mosques hiding veiled princesses in the Arabian desert,
until he was old enough to look up
their flight paths himself, knew they were really just coming back
from Florida. It was about that time
he stopped sitting with me
so close, one small hand on my knee, leaning forward
eye wide in perpetual excitement, and it was about that time
I stopped noticing the birds
no matter how loud they were.
When we were little, my best friend and I used to hold funerals for roadkill
because we had seen adults hold funerals for dead people, and thought
everything needed some sort of ceremony to mark its passing—no, really,
we just thought it looked like fun. We threw black winter scarves over our heads
wept loudly and noisily as we carefully carried
whatever dead bird or cat we saw in the road
to the back yard, dumped the body in the hole, covered it with dirt and flowers.
Once, a raven we tossed into the hole
moved its beak and croaked at us, not yet dead. For the next five or six minutes
the funeral turned into a television-ready hospital scene, complete
with calls for emergency assistance from imaginary nurses (as we both wanted
to be the doctor), fingertip chest compressions, the careful spreading of a bloodied wing.
Sometime during this, the raven’s head fell backwards, its beak gaped open
and we were in the middle of a funeral once again.
I can’t imagine what the next owner of the house thought of our yard
as they overturned earth to make vegetable gardens, perhaps a sandbox.
There were so many bodies buried in that yard.
They must have found so many bones.
About the author:
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry collections are A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press), In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.), and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy (Alien Buddha Press).