Two Poems by Holly Day



Do not be surprised
if you put a litter of kitten in a basket of bulrushes
and float them down the river towards some uncertain doom
that they won’t come back to haunt you in some way

that you won’t find yourself looking wonderingly
in the eyes of some old stray tomcat, years later, its gaze
full of reproach, unwilling to come closer
to the daughter you thought you’d never have,

her tiny hand outstretched with want.



The mummy comes to my door, tells me
he’s moved in down the street, only now realized
we were neighbors, we should go out for coffee
sometime, we should catch up. Startled, not expecting
this shambling wreck of my past to just show up
on my doorstep as though nothing had ever
happened between us, I just nod my head
say that would be nice.

I shut the door and my daughter asks
who I was talking to, asks why
I look so funny, so strange. I say nothing
can’t find the words to explain that sometimes
the dead can crawl their way out through layers of dirt
breathe life back into their rotting limbs and
stop by for a visit, without any sort of warning,
no polite warning at all.


Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, and 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.