Alone, Holly Day

Dale Champlin, African Woman, Collage, 2021


I watched you sleep for nearly five minutes

stood just inside your room for nearly five minutes
before I dropped your purse on the chair, quiet as death
and slipped out the door, defying
detection. your bare back

was open to anyone and everyone coming in, bareback
riders slip in through the cracks of hotel security all the time, defying
even little girl sanctity. yesterday, I dreamt of your death
the big sister duties I’d imposed upon myself stuck in
my head, driving me crazy.

Holly Day


Review by Massimo Fantuzzi

Whatever we think we are looking at here, many figures and gestures materialize from the reflection of fragments of glass mirrors scattered on a carpet, and equally numerous are the questions that are ricocheting in our minds. The scene generates the heretical pull of a medieval alchemy’s recipe, like a malign exhibit in a trial for witchcraft, like a night terror, like an apothecary’s fantasy. Like a night terror.

We walk the room wrapped in forensic gear, in a cloud of phenol ether, incense and pastoral garments; if anything, unsure whether we belong to the investigating team or if complicit in the crime, we are back to cover our tracks. On the subject, the page winks enigmatic and amused; multiple fingerprints have been gathered along with traces of DNA, unquestionably human, consistently familial. Signs of forced entry? Philologists and Semiologists can’t reach an understanding. Foul play? The jury is out.


Review by Jared Pearce

The repetitions here, which can often make pop music so tired and weary despite their booms and crashes and manic speed, drive the lonely aloneness of the poem, both for the speaker and the speaker’s object, the you, without making the poem dull.  Instead, the repetitions punctuate the relationship and, thus, the sorrow, and, thus, reserve the poem from boredom; instead, we all get caught calling up those we’ve sought to save, which often happen to the be the unsalvageable.

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