Poems by Holly Day


Along the River

We point out the different birds to one another.
Like teenage boys showing off their knowledge of astronomy.
Find goldfinches and cedar waxwings in the trees along the river,
tiny redpolls and grosbeaks chasing gnats down below.

In the water, cormorants lurk, wings spread like vultures
night-herons stalk lumbering carp in slow deliberation.
Mallards and geese eye our progress along the bank
hoping we have crackers or popcorn in our pockets.


The Voyager

The tiny boat floats down the river, bobbing inconsequential
in the pull of the tide. Its little paper sail flutters in the thin breeze
a piece of folded newspaper advertising newborn collie puppies for sale on one side
a half-sheet of recent obituaries on the other. I can almost see

my grandmother’s small, black-and-white photograph from the shore
where I stand, my tiny daughter’s warm hand in mine
watching our little boat as it’s swept away, perhaps
as far as the ocean. My daughter chatters excitedly
about the exotic places our boat might see, far-away places
my grandmother never got to visit, but talked of often.

I imagine it’s her on the boat, and not just her picture
a thin, pale woman, mouth set permanently in a thin, determined line
leaning over the railing of a real ship, eyes forever
fixed on the delights of the horizon.


Floating Away          

I put the tiny boat
in the water and watch it
float away.  Somewhere,

will pull it out of the water,
either intact
or as a sodden, soggy newspaper mess, find

a tiny plastic bag
full of ashes
a sprig of dead lavender
your photograph, our wedding rings

and wonder

what it all means.

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Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak 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).


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