Wild Goose Poetry Review, No 33, Fall 2017
I OPEN MY EYES TO DARK
He calls at three a.m. and reads one of my poems
over the answering machine, says, “I like that one, ” before
hanging up, and I’m left, sitting on the floor, arms around my knees
wondering what would happen if I had picked up the phone.
In the other room, the father of the child inside me
groans in his sleep, calls out to someone in the dark
probably not me. I don’t know why I’m still here, why
I don’t answer the phone calls of this man who says
he needs me, says we belong together, says
it could work. I imagine myself showing up on his doorstep
a ridiculous wide-brimmed hat and flowered dress
belly swollen with the baby I can’t bear not to keep
everything I own shoved into a suitcase too heavy
for someone in my condition to carry. I imagine his face
when he realizes that I mean to stay,
that he has to let me stay because
there’s no where else I can go.
She puts the pillow over his face and prays
it’ll be as easy as the shows she’s seen on TV.
He pulls it away, laughs and tells her he still has to go
she is no match for him tonight. The moon
lights up the fields outside, all around the house, and she
and this house are a plague ship on a dead sea
there is no reason for anyone to stay here, even if only
to ride it out until the next town.
Alone, she imagines he’s kissed her goodbye, on the cheek
soft as a little girl’s whisper, an echo of sunset.
When she brings him the baby, he won’t ask
about the random things he’s left behind at her house
the other men’s shoes in her closet.
When she comes to his house
swollen with starlight,
he won’t be able to slip out the door as if
she is nothing but air.
Bio: 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, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, and Ugly Girl.