Holly Day

While He Slept

when he was young, my son was a copious
nose picker, used to sleep with his thumb in his mouth
the index of his other hand digging
compulsively at the insides of his nostrils, itching
away at something buried deep inside
sometimes he'd dig
so hard his

nose would bleed all over
he'd wake up screaming about the
blood pouring out of his face beg me to make it stop ask
if he could sleep with me for the
rest of the night. my husband would get
so uptight with our son, accuse him of
making his nose bleed on
purpose as a way of

getting me to let him sleep with us as he had
when he was a baby my little boy would try
to act brave when his father
accused him of this infantile behavior but I could tell
all he wanted was a little more love.


the first tendrils poke
through the frozen soil like the first
fully-formed tentacles of a
nautilus, a squid.

the squid, however, there will be no
larger body

emerging, no dishpan-eyed monster doomed
to crawl into the house and eat
from the trashcan. tiny feelers
of perfect emerald

emerge as well, also not attached
to a body, no subterranean
monster determined to lay eggs
in my children's flesh.

when flowers unfurl, I expect
only death.


I wonder if the flowers mind me prying their petals
gently apart, revealing stamen dripping with pollen
reaching in with my cotton swab
to fertilize the trembling anthers

or do they resent this rape, this involuntary impregnation
do the flowers fear me when I enter the garden
with my tools of eugenic experimentation?


metal scrapes, drags against another metal
piece of scrap. metal flakes, a thin silver curl
sharp as a pin, a razor blade. wheels crush overhead
bending metal pinion around metal pinion
an unconscious sculpture, an arm
one second of realism. wheels
move overhead, a face, a flower, the magnet
pulls the loose scrap up, a sharp edge
still stained with blood, a steering column
a door.


the flowers in the garden are screaming, screaming at the sun
morning glories uncurl, unfurl, split wide in their song
mouths and tongues laid bare against the pink of the morning light
an opera for the insects uncurling beneath the soil

leaves unfurling beneath the sudden lightness of evaporating dew
the vines rustle against the brick of houses in a clockwork tick
that follows the flickering sun as it moves across the sky
steady as the heartbeat of a pianist's metronome

  Copyright  2013 Holly Day

Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in Hawai'i Pacific Review, The Oxford American, and Slipstream, and she is a recent recipient of the SamRagan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar-All-in-One for Dummies, and Music Theory for Dummies, which has recently been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish,
Russian, and Portuguese.