if it hadn’t been for the new shopping mall
they never would have found the bodies.
six skeletons, strung with dried skin
tied to trees in the heart of the forest.
after the bodies were identified
as coming from good, upscale families
that still lived in town, naming
some of the new roads leading to the shopping mall
after the dead girls
seemed like a good idea.
after further consideration, though
they decided to just give the girls
a really nice funeral.
my nephew comes home
from the war
cocky, proud, boasting
of how stupid the people “over there” are
how backward their way of life is
it breaks my heart remembering
the baby in my arms
the little boy with the wide brown eyes
who dreamed of driving his own tractor
who is this man
telling stories of military exercises
of kicking down doors to rescue children
from their “ignorant” mothers
drinking beer and showing off his scars
what have they done to
my sweet little friend
he was already dead as a doorknob when they found him
his head cradled in his arms, phone cradled in his hand
he could have been sleeping, dreaming of Saturday
except for all the blood.
it must have taken unflinching persistence, patience, fear
of the timeclock tick-ticking in the corridor
to complete crunching the day’s sales receipts
with a hole as big as a ledger in his chest.
oh, the whirr of wheels and wire and endless
scraping of skin on silvery track, my sleep, the scrape of skin on
splintered wood and wondering what they’ll say when they find me,
the rush, the roar, racing toward the light
the fading, floating echo of speed
oh, the imagined eyes of an imaginary crowd as the train
pull into the station, the concrete landing,
the eyes of the crowd opening wide
as the train pulls in and the hands reach out
trying to catch me, stop me,
much, much too late
oh, I love a train
Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Worcester Review, Broken Pencil, and Slipstream, and she is the recipient of the 2011 Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published book is “Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch,” while her novel, “The Trouble With Clare,” is due out from Hydra Publications in 2013.