poems by Holly Day

            Grief in Perspective


we drive back from the hospital, and I

can’t talk anymore, he wants to talk. I

nod my head at all the appropriate moments, smile, laugh, agree. he

seems happy to talk about mundane things, the weather

his mother, my parents, how weird it’ll be

to go back to work after the last couple of days.


we pass playgrounds full of children, schools standing empty

for the day, pro-life billboards with smiling cross-eyed babies

unwelcome platitudes about life beginning at conception

reminders that the poor sexless little squirrel that died

somewhere inside me really was a baby

the grief that has replaced it is profound. I close my eyes


tell my husband we need to find a different way to drive home

we need to change our patterns of return for just a little while

please don’t ask me to explain. he startles out of his reverie

his ramble about the beer cheese soup his mother’s bringing over later on

so I won’t have to cook, the houseplants she’s had delivered already

how sad his grandmother was when she heard I was in the hospital.

he puts his free arm around me, wedges it between my neck and the back

of the car seat, I pretend he’s comforting me, that I feel comforted.




Gilles de Rais


despite the legends, he kept an impeccable house

even the tiny room where the children were kept

was bereft of any evidence of crime. the bones

were always immediately take out back and burnt,

the clothes and the shoes were cleaned and sent out

to be distributed among the poor.


he was only married twice, and both wives

were as guilty of the crimes as he was.

the first one died of a fever soon after

they were married, possibly from eating raw meat

while the second one, more careful

choked to death on a tiny ring wrapped

around a tiny finger.


it was because of love that he consumed both women

shared their pale, limp bodies with his guests

burned them in the pit out back with the rest of the

stripped, bloody bones—they wouldn’t have understood

any other kind of tribute, not from him.

poems by Holly Day

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