Poem from Holly Day's Forthcoming INTO THE CRACKS by Holly Day

Sunshine on the Rubble

 

We approach each other’s present-day

as civilizations in decline, look beyond

the conquered walls and shattered windows

scars carved in flesh by unmentionable acts

remnants of wars that must be acknowledged

but written and spoken only as

fixed, immutable points in the past.

 

instead, we revel in the struts left standing

despite the damage, point out the fine detailing

in frescoed hallways and ornamental lintels

find beauty in even the most accidental of places:

 

a line of tiny flowers blooming in a sidewalk crack

a spray of green lichen obscuring decades of decay

a statue of a girl I used to be, still standing guard

over the last of the locked doors

I will open only for you.

 

Bloodlines

 

The maple sends its helicopter seeds across the yard

in desperation dreams of propagation. I rake most of them up

rip out the long roots of the ones that slip past me

the ones that take root and try to grow. I sometimes wonder

 

if my tree hates me, if it feels angry when it sees me

come out to the garden with my gardening shears

clipping its offspring close to the ground

 

or if it’s resigned itself to the fact that it will never be surrounded

by a forest of its own family. I think of these violent acts of mine

during heavy storms when the limbs of the tree whip around my roof,

 

Wonder if it’s using the wind and the lightning as an excuse to drop branches

and clumps of leaves on my lawn, if it’s aiming for me and my children

in an act of retaliation so unexpected and sly

it can’t possibly be blamed.

 

    Now I Can Accept You

 

In those holding-hands photographs of us on my parents’ wall

time has begun to leach the color from you, and only you, as though

you had already pulled your roots out of me, even then.

I feel myself growing smaller just speaking your name out loud

in the complete quiet that follows the memories of a childhood love.

 

I don’t know how to find the wounds I’m dying from

buried somewhere in these memories of half-spoken promises.

You are everything good and warm to me,

a summer full of memories, an irresistible force

hiding under my heart