Holly Day

So There Can Be No Confusion

Ancient people used to look at the stars
speculate on the activities of gods, invent
elaborate stories to explain reoccurring weather patterns
flu epidemics, parasitic infections. They mentioned their deities
by name in their books, carved them into stone
added them to family crests and personal genealogies.

Modern people look at ancient structures
speculate how each particular building
glorified a region’s assigned god. Children’s toys and household artifacts
are also connected to this god in this way of thinking
or some neighboring, invading god
imparting special significance to important kitchen utensils
pressed clay ashtrays and experimental musical instruments.

Before I die, I must remember
to leave nothing behind that can be linked
to the collective belief systems of my neighbors, of this town.
When they finally excavate this house
from the compressed piles of pillowy, volcanic ash
or the silty build-up of disintegrating trash brought by years of
spring tides and glacial migrations, or half-wedged between boulders shaken loose
by the first earthquake recorded in my neighborhood’s history,
ideally, I would like those future archaeologists to believe
I worshipped my cat.


I tell my daughter I’m going away for a couple of days
And she asks me why I can’t just write in my office like I always do
Why do I need to go away at all? I try to tell her

how wonderful it is to go somewhere where no one knows me
and I can pretend to be the type of grown-up
Who knows how to check into my very own hotel room
Or rent and drive a car without anyone in the passenger side
telling me I’m going the wrong way
or show up at a college campus pretending to be a real writer
and get treated like one, too

how no matter how much I love her
I have to do this, too.

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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