Holly Day

A Very Smart Man I Knew

he was one of my mother’s friends, fluent
in the language of the stars, the sounds
of the cosmos, the workings of the universe
in even the smallest drop of blood. I was
just old enough to
know it was all bullshit
not smart enough to walk away.

what I did know was how to be quiet
even under such gravity, against the collision
of uneven magnetic fields, dead stars exploding.
receding flames–I held my breath against
the unfamiliar friction, the staccato of engine burn
he clutched at my breasts afterward as though
he was afraid he would fall.

One afternoon of lightning and then
there were no more impromptu visits
no more lectures on possible sources
of celestial radio signals, the conversations of plants
books I should read. He would not look me in the eye
when I visited him at the library.
I might as well have been invisible
I didn’t matter at all.

© Holly Day

Holly Day‘s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, Earth’s Daughters Journal and her recent book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, and Bound in Ice. She teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and Hugo House in Seattle.

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