Beyond the curve at the edge of the world, there is a monster that knows
who you are, an awful thing with claws and teeth and too many
eyes to miss all the bad things you do. It is watching you now.
It has an eye dedicated entirely to watching you.
There is a book that your parents are writing and it's
all about you, a list of all the terrible things you've done
since you were born, a laundry list of evils. When you are old enough
they will present this book to the monster, and it will decide
if you're worthy of passing on to adulthood. Your parents
may intervene on your behalf, but they probably won't. They know
that the monster only takes bad children, and they
can always have another one, they can try
for a good, well-behaved child next time.
Just a few children, bad children, never get to grow up, disappear into the night
from their bedrooms, dragged out the window and presumably, all the way
to the very edge of the world, where the monster lives. Who knows what the
monster does with all the children it drags back to its lair? That's not really the question
here. That is the wrong question. This, this is what you must take back with
you today: Try to be good. Sit still and don't fidget. Pay attention when
She flaps her wings against the cold, wet wind, determined
but doesn't leave the ground. Her white breast glistens
with salt spray drops, glistens in the mid-morning light.
Flight feathers like fingers, become fingers, grasp
as pieces of falling ice fill the glass
as she stands at the bar. She throws her head back
screeches into the air, one loud, piercing cry,
among many, the beach fills with others of her kind. She tries
once more to fly, decides instead to root among the garbage littering the beach
blinks angrily at the curious passersby, shoves half-eaten sandwiches
in her pocket, preens briefly, remembering her dress from the night before
strikes a perfect planned silhouette and wishes for another drink.
Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Worcester Review, Broken Pencil, and Slipstream, and she is the recipient of the 2011 Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published book is "Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch," while her novel, "The Trouble With Clare," is due out from Hydra Publications in 2013.