Holly Day’s poetry has recently 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).

Along the Water

Holly Day

We walk hand in hand along the concrete pilings, mindful

Of broken beer bottles and the occasional, gnawed-on dead fish. 

She squeals as we step into the water, lets go of my hand 

to chase after the tiny silver fish 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 sinkhole

Great sturgeons slumbering where no fisherman could reach.

She asks about dragons, and I tingle, am aglow with delight

At this tiny glimpse of the world inside my daughter’s head, 

 

Wish I could share even more of her visions

Wish I could be her. 

Floating Away 

 

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. 

Perspective

 

I have spent every day of my life

worrying about the oil crises, AIDS, what is and is not on 

the endangered species list

raw sewage in swimming pools, the drinking water

having food on the table, getting/not getting pregnant

exposure to citywide pesticide sprayings,

and I wish

 

it could be just about The Bomb, any one of The Bombs

something simple, concrete

a great, bloated, careless god confined 

to a specific locale

entirely destructive and fear-worthy but

only if actually invoked.

And Only Infrequently

 

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has been replaced by the tight grin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.