Lucille Lang Day has published eight poetry collections and chapbooks, including The Curvature of Blue, Infinities, and The Book of Answers. Her first poetry collection, Self-Portrait with Hand Microscope, was selected by Robert Pinsky for the Joseph Henry Jackson Award, and her chapbook Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems won the 2014 Blue Light Poetry Prize and Chapbook Contest and will be published in 2015. She is also the author of a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story, which received a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award and was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Her short stories, essays, and poems have appeared in more than one hundred literary journals such as Atlanta Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Hudson Review, The MacGuffin, Nimrod International Journal, Passages North, and The Threepenny Review. The founder and director of a small press, Scarlet Tanager Books, she holds an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University and a PhD in science/mathematics education from the University of California at Berkeley. For more information, see lucillelangday.com. Twitter: @LucilleLDay.
What does it mean if you are fifteen
and nine months pregnant
when you find your parakeet dead—
a clump of yellow feathers
still warm on the dining room floor?
My mother said it meant nothing. A few
days later my first daughter was born,
and my childhood ended.
What does it mean if you are twenty-six,
nine months pregnant
for the second time, and find
a dead blackbird on an orange plate
on the kitchen table? My daughter
explained it had been wounded
and she brought it inside, hoping it would live.
A few days later my second daughter
was born, and my childbearing days ended.
What does it mean if you are sixty-six
and your husband says
there’s a dead bird by the front door?
Lying on its back, it’s a sparrow
with a white speckled breast,
its legs in the air like little
brown twigs. Perhaps it flew
against the window between
the porch and deck. I wonder:
What is beginning now?
What is coming to an end?