Photography by William Joseph Stribling.

Train to Gainesville

It’s very hard to cut yourself on a moving train
without doing real damage. Even though the shocks

on most city express trains are pretty decent, there’s still flotsam on the tracks,
bits of broken concrete, dead cats and dogs

bumps in the road that cause the cars to sway just enough
to turn what should have been a single straight, hairline crack, just enough

to let out the pressure

into a crazy spurting hole that looks like the result of a back alley knife fight
a mugging gone horribly wrong. You have to choose your canvas

carefully, the tough skin on the top of your leg
the area right above where your shoe ends, some place

easily hidden. The inside of your thigh, that long, white stretch of inviting flesh
is not a good place to cut on a train, it’s too soft, goes too fast

too messy and prone to accidental rending. That’s the spot you save
for home, with the lights down low, no curious onlookers trying to decipher

what you’re doing with your hands underneath your open notebook.


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 areWalking Twin Cities and Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch.