from the editors

current issue

past issues

submissions

links

Follow UCityReview on Twitter

 

 

Holly Day

The Last Thought Before

Survivors

The Horse

The Spider in the Windowsill

Faith

The Last Thought Before

her friends gathered around her bed and tried to distract her
or maybe frighten her away from the edge of death,
threatened to leave her all alone
if she didn’t get better soon. she just looked past them
out the streaky glass of the hospital room window
imagined fields of corn unfolding under the onslaught of rain
everything she was before fading into a black spot on the horizon.

there were more inane words of encouragement
from her parents, her lover, a stranger who had seen the accident
from the rails of a highway overpass
who described in detail the way the car flipped over the road divider
as though it had been a planned act of agility. she remembered seeing
rabbits scurrying out of the way as she spun out of control
a deer staring, curious, from the safety of a nearby stand of birch and fir
brittle, yellow cornstalks rising in waves to catch the car as it finally fell.

Return to list of poems

Survivors

His arms reach out, fingers drag
him up through six feet of dirt. Eyes pick stone angels
out against the starlight
as dead flesh curls and writhes, adjusting to the summer air.

He stumbles across the graveyard, following
the scant clues of an end he doesn’t remember.
There was a woman with a bomb strapped to her chest
packets of explosives bright red beneath her jacket.
Flashes of sunrise surface, as if from a dream
the agony of moist flesh pulled away by the force
white bones poking through. No more.

There was a bright yellow schoolbus in that flash
he doesn’t remember. He’s grateful
he can’t remember. There is peace in oblivion, surrender.
Around him, other things
are pulling themselves out of their graves, each
with a horrible memory to bury. It was like sunrise when she exploded

his arm is burned through, even now, beneath the plaster.
It cracks when he moves it, it wasn’t made
for movement. The skies broke open to let in the blaze
clouds boiled, red and black
that’s a good enough place to end.

Return to list of poems

The Horse

there were eventually too many miles between us
to let it die
where it fell.

ironically, because I didn’t kill it
and let it hobble behind me as we traveled
I had a superior traveling companion:

one that didn’t interrupt when I spoke
never said anything itself.

Return to list of poems

The Spider in the Windowstill

It’s tempting to just squish it outright but you should first
pull off a leg, then another. First an arachnid
then an arthropod then a quadruped then a biped. Does
the level of intelligence and/sophistication increase or decrease
with each removed limb? How about if you
put a hat on the tiny, flailing insect,
give it a cane, make it dance on its two remaining legs
as it fumbles its way to death?

What happens if you remove all the legs
from one side, but leave the other intact?
does it run around and around
in a circle like a cartoon character,
a teeny tiny motorcar? Now what happens
when you give it a hat, a cane,
from the first exercise?

Return to list of poems

Faith

The tiny, green bird in the cage believes in God more than I do,
has faith that I will remember to feed her, will remember to put clean water in her cage
believes I won’t crush her with my gigantic, clumsy hands
when I reach into her cage to stroke the back of her neck. What must it be like

to believe in something so strongly, to have your life
in the hands of something as ridiculously forgetful as me
to be so trapped by both a cage and by faith?

Return to list of poems

 

Holly Day (hollylday.blogspot.com) has been an instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her writing has recently appeared in Hubbub, Grain, and Third Wednesday, and her newest books are The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), Book of Beasts (Weasel Press), Bound in Ice (Shanti Arts), and Music Composition for Dummies (Wiley).


Return to list of poems

copyright 2010-2022 ucity review