Lucille Lang Day

Lucille DayLucille Lang Day’s memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story, (Heyday Books, 2012) received a 2013 PEN Oakland – Josephine Miles Literary Award and was a finalist for the 2013 Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Her short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in more than one hundred literary magazines, including The Cincinnati Review, Eclipse, The Hudson Review, Nimrod International Journal, Passages North, and The Threepenny Review. She is the author of Chain Letter, a children’s book, and eight books of poetry, including The Curvature of Blue, The Book of Answers, and Infinities. She received an MFA in creative writing at San Francisco State University and a PhD in science/mathematics education at the University of California at Berkeley. The founder and director of a small press, Scarlet Tanager Books, she also served for many years as the director of the Hall of Health, an interactive museum in Berkeley. Her website is Twitter: @LucilleLDay.



A sunflower thrown on the water at dusk
the day you died.
I stood on the bluff to watch
it float away.

Poems, a photo, a bell and a rose
placed beside a bronze urn
in a vault to be covered
with flowers and dirt.

Small mementoes and photos of you
sewn inside stuffed toys:
a bear your son named Captain Puffy,
a cat your daughter named Katy.

A stake bearing your name
driven into the earth
beneath a redwood
whose upper branches wave and wave.

A future of fat white candles
to be lit for you each year.
Yit-gadal v’yit-kadash sh’may raba…
May there be abundant peace…Amen.



I Am Afraid

I am afraid I will write a masterpiece
and people will mistake it
for an old pot.
I am afraid I will write and write
all day for years, and the pot
will remain empty.
I am afraid I will have no time
to fill the pot
let alone write a masterpiece.

I am afraid I will go to sleep booing
like a screech owl
into my yellow pillowcase
and wake up still booing
like a screech owl.
I am afraid I will never stop booing
and my pillow will get moldy
and my husband will get mad.

I am afraid I will make a mistake,
erase it,
then make the same mistake
over and over again.
I am afraid the erasure dust
will make me sneeze.

I am afraid people will give me
only dogbane and thorns,
never invite me into their gardens,
turn away my offerings
of sage and thyme.

I want to go to Mars, Venus, Jupiter,
where no one knows me,
where no one can see
my old pot,
my soggy pillowcase,
my erasures,
my scratched hands.

I am afraid there are no more tickets
to Mars, Venus or Jupiter.

I am afraid I will wake
some morning, eat breakfast
and not remember
my breakfast.
I am afraid I will mistake an egg
for a masterpiece. I am afraid
I won’t live long enough
to forget I ate breakfast
and the difference between
a masterpiece and an empty old pot.

3 thoughts on “Lucille Lang Day”

  1. may the rituals always remain….you’ve written many masterpieces, and your pot remains full, as it has since the day you were born…but funny enough, the stuff in your pot has changed with the years…now it holds many more things or different things, tears and blessings

  2. Thank you, Debbie. Yes, the pot now holds many things–tears and laughter, joy and sorrow, the love of family and friends, and memories of luminous moments now past. Many blessings, Lucy

  3. Lucy Day is a a writer who has lived many lives. She
    has been generous with other writers and often creates
    works for which she asks us if we want to contribute
    to the many books she produces, in edition to continuing

    with her own honest and open work….

    Thank you, Lucy, Elaine Starkman, Walnut Creek, CA

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