Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, and Ugly Girl.
Every once in a while, I make the mistake
of wondering what it’s all about, if there is any point
to existing in this vast, blackness of universe
if removing this one microscopic piece of me from the picture matters
if anyone would notice if I were gone.
There is a continuity to this machination
train wheels rolling, gear wheels grinding
I’d like to think I’m at least as important
as one of the dull metal teeth on just one gear
just indispensable enough that the machine
that makes up this corner of the universe
would shudder and groan, slip just a little
at my absence.
If it had happened to an animal
no one would have noticed. Eventually
kittens would have tumbled out of the barn
a horse would have foaled in the field
a dog would have crawled, shaking, out of the alley
still panting from an unfortunate labor
tail soaked in blood.
A bird spreads its wings when it leaps from a cliff
leaves its nest of tiny mouths and unformed wings
only briefly in search of food, does not fall
straight onto the rocks below
into the cold embrace of rending waves
does not leave one half of a story
for you to unfold.