Poems | Holly Day

Photo Credits: Lee La

My Cat

In my cat’s dreams
the world is safer, softer, quieter.
no garbage trucks rumble by at 5 a.m.,
no mailman rattles the front door at noon.
I know this because

when I sleep with my cat
his paw pressed up against my cheek
I dream only of quiet things:
small birds by the feeder, their footprints leaving
jagged hieroglyphics in the snow
tiny rabbits chirping in the undergrowth

warm sunshine
filtered through green summer leaves.

An Act Never Actually Committed

I remember my father’s
neatly-typed suicide notes
left in conspicuous places
around the house for us to find
when we came home from school

practicing for the day he would
go through with his threats, a fire drill
for something truly awful.
I watch my son sleep and wonder
if his dreams are filled with the worry
mine once were.

By St. Anthony Falls

When I’m with him, days last as long as they did
when I was the child--hand in hand on early morning walks
chasing tiny frogs and ghost swarms of tiny fish fry
darting just out of reach in the rocky shallows.

I am so afraid of the day when he outgrows all this
and thoughts of concrete and city lights appeal more than these
wildflower excursions, catch-and-release grasshopper hunts
these days that stretch impossibly long and end

in complete exhaustion and denial
of all that is sad and boring
tedious and adult.

Fingers Pull a Shoulder Strap Down

My ex-husband hands our son his car keys
to play with, tells him the roads are icy outside,
dangerous, that it’ll be dangerous for him to drive home.
He doesn’t look at me while he says this, eyes
on the child shaking the keyring noisily
standing only in his diaper. “I could die,”

he says in his best
I’m-talking-to-a-baby voice
“I could drive straight into a tree or a telephone pole
hit another car and die.”
“Silly daddy,” says our toddler, delighted
with the keys. He shakes them so gently
they sound like music, the different shapes and sizes
each seem to have their own sound. Underneath it all,

my ex continues to drone on about insurance policies,
my tiny apartment, how things could be
so much better for us
if he just died. So this, this moment, this
is what finally comes of best friends
clothes torn off and tossed in the corner
arms and legs entwined as though magnetized
full of dreams so real
it couldn’t have happened any other way
this is how it all ends.

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