3 Poems by Holly Day

White Knight

it would be easier to think of my husband as being a white knight
if I wasn’t the one always killing spiders, digging holes for dead pets
waking up the middle of the night with babies and
going to work every day. If it wasn’t me putting food on the table
every night, I could maybe see him as some sort of hero.

I’m not sure why. My mother used to tell me that
being a wife and being a mother were two very similar things
that no matter how hard a wife works, she still has to pamper
her husband. I don’t believe this, but I still do it.

I think of the lessons my daughter is learning
from watching me clean crumbs up after my husband
at lunch, the way I shut down and just take it when he accuses me
of not contributing anything to the family, the horrible things he calls me,
his constant harping on the state of my hair and my weight. I want
to put my hands over her ears, fill her head instead with

Disney images of princesses
being worshipped by handsome princes
of house-cleaning mice and flowers
that never stop blooming.
but mostly I want her to know
about the princes.

"White Knight" photo by Flickr user James

“White Knight” photo by Flickr user James

The Orphan

my mother brought home a sweet
little baby sparrow
so
small and helpless

I knew I could take care of it
it had most of its feathers
it ate well
it seemed healthy but the day before I
was going to take it

to the park to set it free
I forgot to turn up the heater
in its cage for the night and
the little bird froze to death
while I was sitting downstairs in
the living room drinking
cranberry juice
and vodka,

watching some stupid TV
program I
DIDN’T EVEN LIKE! and
the next morning when I
went to check

my little
friend I found

him curled up in a huddle
in the corner of his
cage
eyes still open

beak smeared with slime I will
never forgive or forget.

"Baby Bird" photo by Flickr user Ryan Keene

“Baby Bird” photo by Flickr user Ryan Keene

Formless

my daughter lies in her crib screaming
and screaming and screaming and I wonder
if it’s me she hates so much or if she’s
just angry at the whole world in general
some formless, aimless rage and I
say to her, because I can, and she
doesn’t understand a word I’m saying

what will you say when it’s me in the crib
in a coffin, lying back, eyes closed
sewn shut will you suck angrily at your
cigarette and call me a fucking bitch
say you’re glad that I’m dead that I
was a horrible woman or will you
cry silent reminisce pat my folded dead
dry hands miss me?

Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes for the Minneapolis school district and writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her poetry has recently appeared in Slant, Pennsylvania English, and The Worcester Review, and she is the recipient of the 2011 Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published books are Walking Twin Cities and Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch.