Two poems from Holly Day

What Keeps Me Awake

He’s not even out of the house yet, and I’m imagining him dying
in some sort of post-nuclear firestorm, or struggling against a mugger
forgetting to eat. He’s not even stepped out on his own
and I’m already imagining he’s discovered heavy drinking
or he can’t sleep in his new home because it’s too quiet,
or too loud, that he’s afraid to call me because he doesn’t know if I’ll answer
even though I told him I will always answer his calls.

He’d not even out of the house and I’m imagining the panic in his voice
when he calls me to tell me how he’s screwed everything up
or how he needs money, right now, or he’s sick and wants me.
I imagine myself packing up a basket of groceries and medications
to bring over to him, because in my imaginings, he lives just down the street
my husband shaking his head in frustration at me as I grab my coat
to go take care of a little boy I still can’t let go.



I shop because
the end of the world is coming
and I want to be ready. Someday
the things I know how to do
will be valuable
and I’m stocking up for the day
I’m needed.

Skeins of wool yarn for future scarves
and warm blankets
embroidery thread
for small ornamental touches
to necessities
walls of canned food for my family
for trading
bags of dry rice sealed off
from the rats.

I shop because I feel
Armageddon in my bones
I fill my shopping cart with
aspirin, shampoo,
tuna fish and sewing needles
all the things I’ll need
in the dark days ahead.


Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

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