Barricade and Flowers in Shades

by Holly Day


I pretend my house is an island, Louisiana before the white men came
surrounded by the emptiness of the ocean and virginal
in the ways of vapid conversation. The wind blows in the sound of trains rumbling by
sounds like voices coming through a baby monitor, strange hands
poised to smash through glass.

I am San Juan before the Spanish landed, far from
the boy next door and the thud of the dishwasher upstairs. I can almost see
all the way to Catalina Island through the glare of streetlights
the flocks of white-winged moths and storm clouds
heavy with portent. The ripple of galleon sails

distorts the horizon, damns me to admit
white men once continued long enough down the Mississippi to find my house
did not turn around at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico, were not dissuaded
by the piles of beer cans in my trash, the oil derricks tilted off-center in the bay
the lawn paved over to make a cracked basketball court.

Flowers in Shades

on a beach of blue and white ink, upright stalks unleash
against a wall, spout down-turned flowers on thin stems
faces like tiny men. my garden makes me think of

suntanned boys resting after a hard surf, girls parading in swimsuits
ancient monks experimenting with eugenics, octopi
unfurling great purple tentacles in shallows
flashing bits of oiled, fluttering flesh with each passing breeze.

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.

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