The Things Stars Inspire
By Holly Day

I imagine he thought the stars had something to do with it, why
he felt he had to take me there and do what he did. he kept mentioning
that he had studied the constellations as a teenager, found new meaning in them
during particularly intense acid trips. I should have known that something was wrong
when he started talking about the stars that way, and how he kept cocking his head
as though he was listening to something talking from up above us
as we made our way up the hill to his secret picnic spot. I really did think

we were really going to have a picnic, too—he had the nicest
picnic basket I had ever seen, looked like something my grandmother
might have bought in her bourgeois youth, woven wicker with inlaid peacock feathers
silk and linen lining the interior, the edge of a matching picnic blanket dangling
out one side. the basket was so pretty I squelched my apprehension
of what he really meant to do with me once
we had finished eating, could only imagine the nice bottle of wine waiting inside
tucked between embroidered cloth napkins and containers of sandwich meat and cheese.

Holly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, also known as “The Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches at the Loft Literary Center. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, and Guitar All-in-One for Dummies.