The years of marriage can be counted like lines
dark as any made by a thread-wrapped needle dipped in ink
inflicted with the same grunting force as a thin-lipped woman
with a thorn-tipped stick, is it love that holds you down
or just the restraining weight you can’t shake free?
There are consequences for complaining, for those small, quiet sounds
you think no one can hear in the middle of the night. Those have all been tallied
and when you finally die, your complaints will be
imprinted on your skin in indelible ink for all to see, buried deep inside
the son and daughter who watched your dreams fold in like a wrinkled butterfly
a specimen drawer of dreams pushed down by the end of a pin.
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing).