Photography © Edward S. Gault

 

Left Over

She wears her mother’s winter coat, reflects
on the life her mother never had—all the sacrifices
the husband that was never there,
and when he was, he wasn’t the one she’d imagined

married at sixteen years and so much in love so
flamboyant, faded photos on the mantle
a smile no one ever saw, collapsing seduction
fading into the gray woman who held her daughter
and cried. And now

the woman looking at the old photographs
has become her mother, wearing
her clothes and fighting against this natural
orientation. She remembers the small woman, grown old
in this same house, lawnmower
squealing banging in the back yard, echoing her father’s

private mantra of muttered terror. It’s easy to forgive
now, after all this time, and again,
she thanks God they had the sense
to keep guns out of the house.

 

Holly Day has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Hubbub, Grain, and Third Wednesday. Her newest books are The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), Book of Beasts (Weasel Press), Bound in Ice (Shanti Arts), and Music Composition for Dummies (Wiley).

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma. He has a wife Karen, and daughter.