So There Can Be No Confusion

Ancient people used to look at the stars
speculate on the activities of gods, invent
elaborate stories to explain reoccurring weather patterns
flu epidemics, parasitic infections. They mentioned their deities
by name in their books, carved them into stone
added them to family crests and personal genealogies.

Modern people look at ancient structures
speculate how each particular building
glorified a region’s assigned god. Children’s toys and household artifacts
are also connected to this god in this way of thinking
or some neighboring, invading god
imparting special significance to important kitchen utensils
pressed clay ashtrays and experimental musical instruments.

Before I die, I must remember
to leave nothing behind that can be linked
to the collective belief systems of my neighbors, of this town.
When they finally excavate this house
from the compressed piles of pillowy, volcanic ash
or the silty build-up of disintegrating trash brought by years
of spring tides and glacial migrations,
or half-wedged between boulders shaken loose by earthquakes
ideally, I would like those future archaeologists to believe
I worshipped my cat.

About the Author

Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Slipstream, Penumbric, and Maintenant. She is the co-author of the books, Music Theory for Dummies and Music Composition for Dummies and currently works as an instructor at The Richard Hugo Center in Seattle and at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.