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Holly Day

I pretend I’m blind so they won’t bother

me, but even I know when I’m

being so persistently

stalked. I admit I’m a killer

but it was out of love. It’s

a complicated story, but if

the man in the shadows wants to ask me

why I killed his brother, he can come into the light

and ask me and I will tell him. I will.


The Cat

for years, I dreamed of eating you, of trapping you between

my paws and staring you into submission. too many years

spent salivating over you

and now that I have you, trapped under my claws


I’m not sure what to do with you, my heart

urges me to smother you before you can run, to

swallow you whole like a snake would a rat, but my

heart aches at the thought of this


being completely over

misses the chasing games we used to play, the ones you

finally lost. I will always be watching you

even during those times you think I’m asleep, eyes


half-lidded in nonchalance, faking

indifference. today, you get to

be the pet, my own, my only, and tomorrow

I’ll only eat a bit of your tail for breakfast.



First Contact

The dolphins at the zoo have begun to realize

the errors manifest in trying to communicate

with humans. Too many attempts at peaceful negotiations

have been met as requests for more fish.


The people in the cages have begun to realize

that the aliens regard them as only

pets or fresh meat. Any attempts to engage in serious conversation

have been met as requests for more corn chips

and snack cakes.


Runaway Mouse

eyes closed against the light ears

back against the noise feet pressed

against the ground no away I go

you can’t catch me

whiskers twitch against my cheeks

even breathing is too loud not safe

fingernails pick at wood and dirt

and away I go you’ll

never catch me.

The End of All Plans

I left the door unlocked and

just kept walking. I walked

until the heels of my pumps broke off

until the soles of my shoes wore through

until the soft skin of my bare feet

were as tough as boot leather.

Then  I stopped.


I wonder at the stories children

must tell of me by now: the woman

who left her family behind

disappeared into the forest

never came home. Do they say

I haunt these woods, a specter

of a desiccated corpse, driven by guilt

wanting to come home but trapped

by my earthly, moldering remains?


Or am I something more:

a small, brown person, seen only

out of the corner of one’s eye, an elusive

but friendly forest witch, my former life

forgotten, grasping at peace

in the comfort of trees?

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, andGargoyle, while her newest nonfiction book, Tattoos FAQ, is coming out from Backbeat Books at the end of 2017.

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