“Lifeboat in the Apocalypse,” “The News of Your Death” and “The Gift of a Green Scarf”

“Lifeboat in the Apocalypse,” “The News of Your Death” and “The Gift of a Green Scarf”

“Lifeboat in the Apocalypse,” “The News of Your Death” and “The Gift of a Green Scarf”

Lifeboat in the Apocalypse

I haven’t always wanted to be

in the same boat with them

but when the time comes, I hope

there’ll be room for me in that lifeboat

loaded deep with my siblings and other kin,

those who can do stuff:

my sisters who’ve fed multitudes

from their gardens, cooked every

family holiday dinner,

and my brother who’s built homes,

fixed cars. I’ll bet he can even start

a campfire without matches.

So today, when one of my sisters

snorted derisively,

What can you do in the apocalypse?

I said, I’ll tell the tale around the fire

of how we survived,

like we did in that long ago story

of a mother and her children

adrift upon a raft.

I’ll remember everything.

This time, I’ll write it all down.

The News of Your Death

The news of your death

arrived like a runaway horse.

Pulling back on the reins

didn’t help at all.

Grabbing handfuls of mane,

still I slid,

slid away,

thumping the adamant earth.

Message delivered,

the horse galloped free,

empty stirrups flapping,

back to the shadowed stall.

Pawing the grass for my glasses

I crawled,

chest tight,

eyes wide

with sudden knowing,

all breath bolted away.

The Gift of a Green Scarf

Evening after winter evening

I knitted and purled a green wool scarf

for a boyfriend who, not knowing

it was intended for him,

remarked, “Awful color.”

Night after night it grew,

spilling onto the floor,

longer than he was tall,

finally so long I wound it around

and around my own neck, over my ears,

my lips and nose.

That winter and every brutal blizzard

after, how that wool warmed me,

shielded my breath

from the icepack that formed

over my mouth,

how it matched my eyes,

that gift I made for myself.

About the Author

Kathleen Holliday

Kathleen Holliday lives on an island in the Salish Sea. Her poems have appeared in The Bellingham Review, The Blue Nib Literary Magazine, Cathexis Northwest Press, New Ohio Review, Nimrod International Journal, Poet Lore, Poetry Super Highway, SHARK REEF, The Write Launch and other journals. She is a graduate of Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN. Her chapbooks, Putting My Ash on the Line, (2020), and Boatman, Pass By (2023), were published by Finishing Line Press.

Read more work by Kathleen Holliday.