Years later, they will speak of this anniversary
as though it had happened to other people, neighbors, perhaps.
They will speak lightly of her hospitalization
gloss over the details, mention her minor head trauma
the problems he had had with his temper
back then, in the past.
Their children will glare pointedly at each other
over the heads of the assembled party guests
because one of them should have intervened
someone was supposed to have been here.
The bird hides inside, tucked inside my ribcage
too rotten to present. Bodies twist, limbs flail
but I didn’t come.
Dark and black and wet, he’s swimming
in the sweat of other women, rotten
to the heart. The bird is in here, barely visible
in the sick hot summer, intent on
Even through the cigarette smoke and birthday cologne
he’s in my heart—I can smell him.
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), while her newest nonfiction books are Music Theory for Dummies and Tattoo FAQ.