How He Writes those Sermons

he said he could take it or leave it, or maybe it was
some other trite cliché, laughing at me
as though i’d given him dogshit for his birthday
as though i was dogshit. i waited until church was over
before sneaking out past the rest of my family
i wanted to hide somewhere. i wanted to cry.

there were memories born in the garage out back
that i wished dead, i could give or take them, too
if i could, except i couldn’t take back those fingers
his hot breath on my neck, i could still smell his wreck
on my skin. i wiped myself down after he left

thought of his birthday, how now we were together
thought of his birthday and what i could give him
something else, something i hadn’t given him already
i could take or leave that memory, too. “come,”
my mom said right away, right when she came out
saw me red-faced and angry standing alone
her usual after-church socializing forgotten.
she was quiet all the way home.


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.

Luis Lázaro Tijerina was born in Salina, Kansas. Mr. Tijerina has a Master of Art degree in history, concentration being military history and diplomacy. He is a published author of military theory, short stories, essays and poetry. Mr. Tijerina resides in Vermont.