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Holly Day
Onto Any Surface

dead parts of some         against me shivering                                                
take a walk with me talk the scripture        

of new razor blades our       footsteps  
connect angels          at war      

realization     of demons      

still can’t relate to          God         
holy grail reflected           in the rear-view mirror       straight came       she was dead

realization    of demons    

you exorcised we could have done more we didn’t
why do I          still dream


hand in hand, those interlocked
fingers belie the nightly ritual
of skin against metal, concrete
floors, blood pooling in a room
with a drain in the floor. She

smiles so carefully, all those
quiet years of hiding a mouth
full of chipped, dying teeth, lips
rouged to hide the hairline splits
the way the skin puckers when she

tries to talk.

The Orchard

I can feel the roots split from my skin
And begin to grow into the ground beneath me
Like a tomato plant. That’s what I am.
Just something that sends out roots wherever the ground
Will take me. They put her body
In the ground yesterday and I want to tell my husband

About how the ground welcomes me, even when I am alive
And how if they would only shake her
Loose from her coffin, let the earth in
She could put her own roots out, supine
Unmoving, she might even grow into a tree, because even I
Can feel the flowers growing under my skin
But I can’t lay still enough for them to come out.


This is not a conversation.
You peel the skin back
from the tops of your feet, peel off thin
layer after thin layer until

the blood starts.  I turn away.  You think
I am turning away from you.

No razors here.  You find loose
corners of hangnails, pull, calluses,
pull, old scars and the soft skin

on your swollen toes.  Your breath
comes in little gasps beside
me.  These are not sentences.
The stops between your words last

forever.  I can feel you
in the little hairs in my
ears, on the back of my neck,
against my skin.  Let me know
where you are, tell me why

you delight in this
destroying us, piece
by piece.

Quivering in the Corner, Looking for My Life

it’s impossible to see it any other way—I’m a fool
and there’s no getting back the things I have lost. No use crying for
the little pieces, all the bits that made up what I once thought of myself, a
lie put together by a careful manipulator, something I am not. somewhere out in the country
is a brilliant intellectual that carries the thoughts I wish I had, putting to tune
the words that never find their way out my mouth. Songs and regrets

integrated perfectly, everything that’s in

my head. Not even oncoming traffic stops for
me now. I have grown so invisible, divisible, from all these lies falling apart, even a
cat could walk through me now. Somewhere out in the country
my mythical genius is pondering how this could be, drawing diagrams and composing tunes
in dry earth with the tip of a long stick. My one great regret
is that my genius may not actually be real, that the one channeling and understanding my thoughts is in

some asylum, branded and tossed away as a fool.

But even a fool can smell a flower in the country, maybe even name it
by its proper Latin given or after a near-forgotten tune. It’s regret
that does me in the worse, makes me the great fool
of my own dreams, makes a mockery of

all the things I’m still waiting for.


Holly Day is a freelance writer and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her recent books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, and Guitar-All-In-One for Dummies, co-authored with Jim Peterik, former guitarist of the band Survivor. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Oxford American, The Midwest Quarterly, and Coal City Review.

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