Into the Cracks
Golden Antelope Press
ISBN 978-1-936135-69-1; 64 pp; $14.95; released May 6, 2019
In 53 tightly-crafted poems, Holly Day creates tiny moments of pain edged with hope--or, if hope is too large a concept, then edged with honesty. Into the Cracks speaks to the dreams, fears, cravings, duties, and disappointments we share. It speaks with the voice of a mother, daughter, lover, housewife, victim, or rebel--in images of concrete boots and dying butterflies, clouds of squid ink and smudged glass in a dusty picture frame. Its language is exquisite.
In "Bloodlines," for example, the impulse to create and protect offspring is shared by the narrator and the maple tree which "sends its helicopter seeds across the yard." Does the tree hate the narrator/gardener who clips its seedlings--or does it resign itself to sterility? Will it retaliate, tossing branches at the narrator's children during some future storm? The questions behind such questions are rich, the metaphors inventive, sometimes alarming, often humorous.
Other poems re-create the touchy tones of people who can't quite live up to some not-quite-articulated standard. In "Three Screwdriver Hello," we're warned that "I get like a razor when you say/ [you] 'understand.'" In "Bleeding the Brakes Dry," the memory of hearing waves crash on a distant shore can become loud enough to drown out the mutterings of a husband working on a car that will never make it back to that beach.
In other poems, we learn to read cracks in pavements and in paintings, cracks made by fingernails running ragged across human skin, cracks in the facade of sanity or sobriety. The book's cover is one of the author's needlepoints--done by carefully, even meditatively, pushing and pulling threads through the interstices of a piece of canvas--using needles made of steel. Holly Day captures chaos in tiny spaces and holds it there for us to see. And hear. And taste and touch and smell.
Holly Day has worked as a freelance writer, indexer, needlepoint artist and editor for more than 25 years. She has had more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction published. Into the Cracks is her fifth book of poetry. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she currently develops and teaches courses for writers at The Loft Literary Center.