February 16, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION


Holly Day



The Type of Courage that Only Comes with Motherhood



I close my eyes to the things I’ve always seen the corners

the extra shadows in the darkening room, the furtive movements

of things that I won’t admit are there. I close my eyes to them

and flip the light switch on

announce loudly that there is nothing there, the room is empty

there are no monsters in the closet.


I close my ears to the rustles and groans that I know

are more than just the house settling, the wind blowing

the gentle scratching of tree limbs against the frame of the house.

I close my ears to so much more than rats scurrying through the walls

the tiny click of a spider methodically cocooning its prey

to the whispers I have always heard but now must fervently deny.








Inside Always



Our paths will never cross because this house has already claimed me.

I truly believe that if I could just step through the front door, go outside

for something besides the groceries or check the mail, I could be a part

of the world I see streaking past my windows every day. I know I could.


My husband comes home from work and tells me I’m not missing anything

being trapped inside all day, how lucky I am that I’ve found a way

to just stay home all day. I shrug and nod and say I guess, there were palm prints

on the window I wiped away earlier, like frost on the inside of the glass,

I don’t know

if they were mine











the river cracks awake in the middle of the night, sounds like something

falling inside the house, sounds like the dog/kid broke something. I get up

so he doesn’t have to, stomp out into the living room bathed in bright moonlight, see

the dog curled up by the front door, oblivious to whatever woke us up.


From the living room, I can hear more ice breaking off, feel the river waking up

Pushing trapped branches and dead deer off to the side banks, determined

To become an unhindered body once more. From the bedroom, my husband asks

What’s going on, I don’t know where to start.











I watch her get ready for school and I am so lost

in the beauty of my daughter. She sees me looking at her

smiles at me as she did when she was little

because she knows if she does that, I’ll do anything for her.


Motherhood has turned my heart into a schizophrenic creature

doubtful and suspicious but still wide open to receiving

whatever little crumbs of love my children want to give me:

the hug in the morning my adult son when he finally gets up

that small smile my daughter gives me

in the moments she remembers she doesn’t actually hate me.

There are other times, too,

but I won’t list them all here.











if you are a teenaged girl, your periods are so terrifying

that you can make dishes fly across the room, can cause houses to shake

can cause your parents to toss and turn in bed all night, knowing

the Devil’s just outside your door. It’s out of your control, these things

that can eventually only be solved by a priests coming over

waving a handful of stinky smoking herbs at you, shouting some prayers

beating the Devil out.


Whenever a house shows signs of being haunted, the first thing

the visiting psychic asks is “Is there a teenage girl in the house?”

because teenaged girl are always the cause of paranormal activity

with their new breasts, their cumbersome periods,

the way they always make the psychic feel uncomfortable

whenever he’s alone in the room with them, it only makes sense.












Holly Day

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, since 2000. Her published books include ‘Music Theory for Dummies’, ‘Music Composition for Dummies’, ‘Guitar All-in-One for Dummies’, ‘Piano All-in-One for Dummies’, ‘Walking Twin Cities’, ‘Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities’, ‘Nordeast Minneapolis: A History’, and ‘The Book Of’, while her poetry has recently appeared in ‘New Ohio Review’, ‘SLAB’, and ‘Gargoyle’. Her newest poetry book, ‘Ugly Girl‘, just came out from Shoe Music Press.

1 Comment

  1. Leslie DeLuca February 16, at 18:19

    Wow, Holly Day...all of these are equally fascinating, profoundly impactful especially the last lines that slam into my consciousness. You know how to reveal most inner motherhood lamentations and insight most eloquently. Though I did not bring forth any daughters into this world, being a female and recollecting what I did and said to my own mother whilst gripped in the fury of hormonal upheavals I'd say bang on with your most apt descriptives. I particularly loved reading " The type of courage that only comes with motherhood", "Inside Always" and "Springtime" for the hauntingly relatable memories they evoke. You write beautifully.


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