Dora Jean

My uncle started beating my aunt when she
started to show. The baby
wasn’t his, and he knew it
because everyone in town knew who
she was sleeping with.

One night, when my uncle
was passed out drunk on the couch downstairs
my aunt’s lover came and got her
parked outside the house in his
Model T with the suicide doors
helped her climb out the second-story window
caught her when she slipped

It was all terribly romantic to everyone but her family.

They were going to drive all the way to California
to have the baby, get a tiny house in Anaheim
near the spot Disneyland was being built
he’d get a job at a munitions factory
while she stayed at home with the baby.

A few months later, she showed up at my grandparents’ house
with the baby, said she wanted
to come home, said the new man
beat her worse than the old one.
My uncle took her back, raised the baby
as his own

we all knew better than to ask him why.

Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes for the Minneapolis school district and writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her poetry has recently appeared in Hawai’i Pacific Review, Slant, and The Tampa Review. She is the 2011 recipient of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published books are Walking Twin Cities and Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch.