Three Poems

Holly Day

Photo Credit: Ikhlasul Amal/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

The Letters Keep Coming

cringe. draw away from me out
of me slough away
promises burn holes
in dreams I know
you, silent in the darkened hall, white armor
stripped and revealed to be paste. tell me why
I need you. don’t leave me yet. run. pull

yourself off of me out of me get
as far as you can from
me, I exile you because
I know. once a week

she calls me to let me know you’re still
sleeping with her, tells me about
the life you have planned
for the two of you. she wants forgiveness.
she wants to know if I’m okay with all
of this.

I tell her I’m fine


White Knight

it would be easier to think of my husband as being a white knight
if I wasn’t the one always killing spiders, digging holes for dead pets
waking up the middle of the night with babies and
going to work every day. If it wasn’t me putting food on the table
every night, I could maybe see him as some sort of hero.

I’m not sure why. My mother used to tell me that
being a wife and being a mother were two very similar things
that no matter how hard a wife works, she still has to pamper
her husband. I don’t believe this, but I still do it.

I think of the lessons my daughter is learning
from watching me clean crumbs up after my husband
at lunch, the way I shut down and just take it when he accuses me
of not contributing anything to the family, the horrible things he calls me,
his constant harping on the state of my hair and my weight. I want
to put my hands over her ears, fill her head instead with

Disney images of princesses
being worshiped by handsome princes
of housecleaning mice and flowers
that never stop blooming.
but mostly I want her to know
about the princes.


The Spot

Each day with the sun, I am up, running to each
new special spot in the yard,
uncovering patches of
frozen leaves and snow to look

at the little green buds waiting to
burst forth with the spring. Six months under

the snow and I, too, am ready to leap
forth into the sunshine, to surround
myself with yellow Thunbergia, orange
poppies and frilly red peonies. I breathe warm air
on the tightly-
curled buds, wish them life.


Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle. Her nonfiction publications include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano and Keyboard All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and Stillwater, Minnesota: A History.   Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press),  I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.), In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), and A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing) will be out late 2018, with The Yellow Dot of a Daisy already out on Alien Buddha Press. Email: lalena[at]

Confined to Thought

Holly Day

Photo Credit: Oliver Quinlan/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

If all of our conversations existed only on postcards, if we only
communicated through tiny messages wrapped around the legs of pigeons, if
we were only allowed to speak to one another in carefully-planned semaphore
then, perhaps, we would work. These things we say to one another
need too much planning, carry too much weight for spontaneous voice.
These things are too heavy to be propelled by irresponsible breath.

If you could only give me the time, I could formulate an answer to your accusations
write them down on origami paper, fold them into a swan
push it across the kitchen sink to you as I wash the dishes. Your retort
could come to me in pre-ordered letters of airplane exhaust
spread across the sky, where they make perfect sense.

If this was how we talked, it would be so quiet in this house.
I could concentrate on all of the things that make you so perfect to me
your smell, the way you walk, the feel of your hands
rough against my back. I could hold my tongue long enough
for the tulip bulbs and crocuses out in the garden
to push through all those layers of frozen dirt
to sprout and bloom
and scream for me.


Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her recently published books include Music Theory for Dummies (3rd edition), Piano All-in-One for Dummies, The Book Of, and Nordeast Minneapolis: A History. Email: lalena[at]

Wednesday Night

Holly Day

My Loved ones

Photo Credit: Nick Kenrick/Flickr (CC-by-nc-sa)

I’m washing my daughter’s hair and she tells me there’s a boy
She likes in school, he’s nine years old, he says he doesn’t like her
He told her best friend he doesn’t like her, she’s upset now and I
Don’t know if I should laugh or cry. I carefully

Rinse the shampoo out of her hair and resist the urge
To wrap my arms around her tiny, bony chest and hold her
Like I did when she was tiny, she wants me to give her some sort of
Womanly, adult advice and I am not ready for this.

pencilHolly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, “The Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches writing classes at the Loft Literary Center. Her published books include the nonfiction books Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, and Piano All-in-One for Dummies, and the poetry books Late-Night Reading for Hardworking Construction Men (The Moon Publishing) and The Smell of Snow (ELJ Publications). Her needlepoints and beadwork have recently appeared on the covers of The Grey Sparrow Journal, QWERTY Magazine, and Kiki Magazine. Email: lalena[at]

The Last Day

Holly Day

Photo Credit: Diganta Talukdar

we go about our day
whisper about angels
leave homes full of the past behind us
as the sun rises, one last time

we pray that the signs are real and
the whispers grow louder
climb the hills, set up camp, make plans
the occasional ecstatic shout. people leave their doors unlocked
fields unturned, the animals
ask if it’s true.

pencilHolly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, also known as “The Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches at the Loft Literary Center. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, and Guitar All-in-One for Dummies. Email: lalena[at]

The Things that Come in the Mail

Holly Day

mail box
Photo Credit: Ana Ivette Rodriguez

the flowers come in the mail, with the cards, with the lovely notes
expressing sympathy for our loss. I don’t want to answer the door anymore
want to let the tiny wreaths pile up, wither away.

I smile, thank the delivery man for my mail, I smile at my husband
I smile
at everyone. I call relatives to let them know I’m fine, I don’t need
anything. I thank them for their kindness and for the flowers.
my husband compliments me on my strength, I reply with
another smile. my face hurts from smiling so much. at night

I find myself talking to the missing baby, hold
my hands over my stomach, protecting nothing. I shuffle through
these days, find comfort in repetitive tasks. I vacuum constantly.
I crochet mittens for everyone. I turn inside myself

hold back everything but this smile, the one I show my family
my husband—it’s all I’ve got left.


Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Oxford American, The Midwest Quarterly, and Coal City Review. She recently co-authored the book, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, with guitarist Jim Peterik of the band Survivor. Email: lalena[at]