Two Poems by Holly Day


Half Animal Half Machine

am I dead, this oil
on my skin is the oil in the air, want to rip
out my teeth, all the hard, metal edges
that poke through my flesh

I am machine here, in here, how do I
shake these greasy, plastic bones, fall back to water
how do I
shake this skin, exorcise all this false
electricity burning through me

pull off all my clothes and wrap myself
in dirty leaves, lay back
in the cool earth and cover my body
bury me, no, stop these

voices of traffic and footsteps on pavement
these iron giants of electricity, the false buzz
of hollow bees, pack my ears with soft, cool earth
let me sleep

 

The Quilt

I cut squared to fit together: bits
Of old clothes, my son’s jeans
my husband’s flannel work shirt
a stained bedsheet. This is the measure
of my life, all that has come before.
This is important.

I sew the bits of cloth together
weave scraps saved from family haircuts
into the stitching, plastic from trick-or-treat bags
a little girl’s sock with the heel worn out.
I don’t want to forget this.

The tail of a mouse the cat brought me.
A piece of dog collar. A red medical waste label.
A string of baby teeth. The last page of a novel
my ex-husband wrote. The first page
of the journal my second husband kept.

All this is important. I don’t want to forget.

Holly Day