Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her newest poetry collections are Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), and The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press).


The Funeral

Holly Day

I think about them dying and wonder

how I can be expected

to hand their bodies over to strangers

to be buried in a grave

far from home, far from me

when all I really want is to be allowed to

carry bits of them with me

for the rest of my own life

the fingerbones of children in my pocket

or on a string around my neck,

twin rosaries of vertebra wrapped loose

around my wrists

so I can raise my hands

to my lips, in prayer, to speak

to a family

I will never let go


The River Otter

Holly Day

The otter sleeps in the river, wrapped

in duckweed and watercress, tiny paws folded

over its chest. I resign myself to stretching out

in the sun-warmed shallows, hands spread out in the water

determined to catch vestiges of the river otter’s dreams.

In fairy tales, this would be the time when the river otter

would wake and swim out to me to speak

of wishes and promises and secret treasures and marriage

emerge a prince from the water, dripping jewels and starlight

instead, tiny, unbidden ripples

spread across the water from where I lay

to where the otter sleeps, don’t, won’t stop

until the animal wakes and swims away.