Poems by Holly Day

holly dayHolly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes for the Minneapolis school district and writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her poetry has recently appeared in Borderlands, Slant, and The Mom Egg, and she is the 2011 recipient of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published books are “Walking Twin Cities” and “Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch.”





Still Life at the Beach

The world became flat and dead, a still photograph
of awfulness that could not be erased
they could not put her body back in the water
and have her emerge, minutes later
smiling and happy and perfectly alive. She would not

ever move again, there would be no
CPR miracle, no random prayer
settling in just the right place
to bring her back to life. I watched
from the beach, afraid to join the crowd gathered
around the dead little girl, my sandwich half-eaten
on the towel beside me. There was nothing I could do.


ice melts in noisy rivulets
resumes descent on muddy river banks

poking its greasy snout out of the water
a bullhead lumbers out of torpor, floats to the surface

frightens newly-hatched crawfish and water striders
small sand crabs hiding in the silt


Out in the Distance

The ground welcomes me, even though
I’m still alive, even now
I am just another something
that sends out roots wherever the dirt
is soft enough to receive me. I can feel the flowers
growing under my skin
can feel them struggling to break free
to sing out under the sun.

You can put your own roots out, too
spread out over the soft grass with me,
shake loose your skin
let the earth in. Eventually, we might
grow as high as trees, thick trunks and limbs
twisting around one another in a frozen embrace
blooming in a garden

of our own making.


8 and 10

We woke up
and there was breakfast on the table
and my mother was awake, out of bed,
ready to step out into the snow
and walk us to school.

It happened
just like that.
Two years before
my mother went crazy
started by accusing my father of stealing the ocean
and hiding it from her, just out of spite
I can still remember how my father looked
as he tried to defend himself
from her useless accusations.

For much of the long, Nebraskan winters
we sat through
days when my mother wouldn’t get out of the tub
hiding from the cold in near-scalding bathwater.
“The ocean feels like this,” she’d tell us, urging us
to climb into the tub with her, or at least
sink hands beneath the bubbles
hold them there until our skin was as pink as hers.
She spent most of the first spring and summer
on her knees, trying to coax things to grow
out of our small, gravel-filled patch of a yard
before my father poured concrete over it all
bought her a television.

Then somehow she got better
all on her own, and in the meantime
I learned how to cook for both
my little sister and me.
I woke up one completely nondescript, ordinary day
and there was breakfast on the table
the laundry was done
and my father was happy.



caustic fire of bile and liquor I am
not going home
dead next to you and dead beneath you
the beast inside of me screaming

these aren’t my dreams
how do I wake up
kill me in my sleep
what the hell am I doing

  1 comment for “Poems by Holly Day

  1. January 8, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Hi Holly, been trying to reach you via email about Dark Mountain submissions. Get in touch! All best, Em

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