Thursday, 19 November 2020

In the Grip of Sensual Illusion

                                                            by Holly Day

the pop star’s new album comes in the mail and I am uncomfortably aware
that time has passed, the man on the cover has grown older.
There are memories tied up in his musical legacy, indelible fingerprints
on my childhood: my mother humming along at the kitchen sink
my father playing along quietly on his beat-up acoustic guitar

others from when I started calling the music my own: a tiny apartment
with a shitty stereo that I loved, the lights off, the music loud
blissful in my solitude, later: in bed with my first husband, eyes closed
pretending to be asleep, pretending there was nothing wrong
the pop star’s then-new CD playing itself to the end in the background

even later: my son in my arms, face tiny and red, missing the last few words
from a well-worn song that finally put him to sleep.
I take the new album to my office, pull out the various incarnations of media
bearing the pop star’s name: two cassette tapes, four vinyl LPs, seven CDs, lay them out
in chronological order, like portraits of a family member never seen
yet sorely missed.

* * * * *

Holly Day ( has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review, and her newest poetry collections are Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), and Book of Beasts (Weasel Press).