Poems by Holly Day

Pic by Frank Cone



The Ride

I still wave at trains as they rumble by, in lieu
of being on board myself, imagine all of
the places the passengers must be going,
all of the places I could go if I was on the train:

perhaps seated next to some dusty child
a photograph of some far-off relative tucked into
her pocket, or perhaps, more adventurously
a well-dressed spy pretending to sleep, or just

someone going to the store. I still wave at trains
as they rumble by, imagine
it’s my face pressed to the glass, watching
someone just like me.


Frog Princesses

I watch my daughter playing in the yard
singing to earthworms and dancing with toads
and I know she sees all the magical things
I’m missing. I join in on her games
make fairy houses out of mud and broken seashells

share stories of how wonderful it would be
if we were frogs or fairies ourselves
and I can tell she believes
we could be those things if we really wanted to be
that being just what we are is some sort of choice
I can tell she believe this
and I wish I could, too.


Struggling For

I keep coming from her husband
wrapped in stories bound in rain
ramblings of passion I don’t believe
every time.

In the dreams where he’s married to me
there is a cat on the bed with us
we spend the afternoons
in each other’s arms
There is no one else.


The First Seeds to Sprout Immediately Afterward

It’s not so much that I’ve seen
so many horror movies highlighting
man-eating vegetation, venomous plants, enraged plants,
highly mobile plants brought to life
by a immense discharge of radiation. It’s more that
I just want to see how far this whole post-apocalyptic
gardening thing can go, to see what’s beyond watering

and straightforward fertilizing. I urgently yearn to see some
magnificent, radical mutant transformation in my garden,
to set eyes on snaky vines gesticulating ominously
at me from underneath the birch tree, miniscule emerald grass heads
nipping at my feet, the tree itself taking a good, solid swing at me
as I run back to the safety of my house.

I think that’d be
really cool.


Where They End and I Begin

neither of my children look like me, their hair
and their eyes are darker than mine ever were.
I look at pictures of my mother with ash-blond
waist-length hair, remember hearing people say I looked
just like her and I wish for one short moment
that I’d married a man with blond hair and blue eyes
someone who looked more like me.

my children shoot up past me and suddenly
I’m a small pale woman
in a house of brown giants.
I alone need sunscreen when I got work in the yard
I alone wear floppy sunhats to the beach.

My husband pokes my sunburns with curiosity
never having had one himself. I wonder
what would have happened to me it I
hadn’t found him and his broad, dark shoulders
what my children would have been like if they’d been
sickly and pale and tiny, too much like me.


About the Author

Holly Day’s poetry has  appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her newest poetry collections are Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), and The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press). Her recent book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, and Bound in Ice. She teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and Hugo House in Seattle.