I make a hole and the ocean leaks out, a thin dribble
of primordial fluid, full of tiny fish and baby sea bats.
If I put my finger over the hole, they’ll be trapped under my skin,
imprisoned under my flesh, sealed in under new scabs.
I make a bigger hole and seals nose their way to the surface,
shark fins cut through briefly and swirl around the opening,
a whale song echoes through my veins. I clap my hand
over the emerging biosphere, tell them I’ve changed my mind
about setting them all free.
Until it Rains
The sunset catches the bits of broken glass in the sand
makes them glitter like sharpened emeralds and sapphires
sudden flashes of light in the growing shadows of dusk.
The shards were full-sized bottles yesterday, smashed now against the rocks
I think we were angry. Tonight, I’m not sure.
If I were to return here next year, after the onslaught of wind
and rain and footsteps of passersby
the shards will have been worn down to smooth, round nubs
and they will look like precious gems, and I will be able to hold them
cupped in my hands, without fear of breaking my skin
will be able to admire them just as pieces of lovely desert glass
something separate from you and me.
One Second to the Next
I start to tell him the thing that’s been weighing on me all day
but he interrupts me and the moment passes. I try to talk
but there is no room in this marriage
for serious conversation, for the dark shadows of doubt
that chase me through the day. I have stockpiled these conversations
for the day that our daughter is finally grown up, so that all these fears
can finally be spoken, that there will be no retribution
for discussions about money, or cancer, or regret.
We will be able to address each plight, one at a time,
like accountants going over a stack of receipts,
and not a man and a woman
barely holding on to one another.
I finally get diagnosed and it answers
everything, and I almost laugh out of relief because
despite all of the horrible things possibly waiting
in my future, I am not bipolar. I never was.
How fucked up is it
that I’m actually relieved to be handed a sentence
that may or may not equal radiation therapy, blindness, surgery
so long as it’s not a future that includes
my regular manic phases dipping into a place of real darkness,
something I’ve fought my entire life, thought I was brilliantly regulating
through diet and sleep and sunshine and forced cheerfulness
and now I know that was never needed, the danger
of depression was never really there.
I wonder how I’ll feel about it all
if I do go blind, can’t read or write anymore
if I’ll be content with sitting on my porch, listening to the birds singing
if that will be enough, or will I wish instead
that the diagnosis would have been one of mental illness instead
that a couple of pills a day might have taken away the music in my heart
but would have let me live as a whole person
for as long as I thought was necessary.
A Quiet Home
Space stretches and contracts between us
an indefinite space filled with pinfeathers and want. Conversations
wrap themselves in cotton and die unspoken
to be swept up and piled into a drawer
filled with similar corpses, things
that can never be said again.
We invest in mostly small talk instead
words that don’t weigh more than what is absolutely necessary
unburdened by pain or depth. Here,
at this table, cooing over the new silverware
the arrangement of the food on our plates
We shall ignore the thrust and fumble of thwarted dreams
banging against the hard wood of a locked desk drawer.
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), while her newest non-fiction books are Music Theory for Dummies and Tattoo FAQ.
Read more of Holly here.
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