Poetry / Wild One

Scarlet Tanager Books

Publication date:

paper, 102 pages, $9.95

Buy Now

“In Lucille Day’s Wild One we are invited to ride shotgun as we travel and witness the full arc of a life from our window seat. From this vantage point we often see a woman skating the dangerous edge of what is allowed by the culture. We sense the need for a life where there is risk involved, and with that risk the possibility of feeling alive. Day writes eloquently about our engagements with the physical world, celebrating our earthly existence.”
—Toni Mirosevich, author of The Rooms We Make Our Own

“Few books of poems have the sheer narrative intensity of Lucille Day’s Wild One. It sweeps the reader up like a powerful coming-of-age novel—half hilarious, half heartbreaking—but always with the sharp lyric edge of genuine poetry.”
—Dana Gioia, author of Can Poetry Matter?

“I do not, ever, assume that the narrator of a poem is anything like the poet, but I wanted it to be so. I wanted the vivacious, intelligent, sprightly narrators of Lucille Day’s Wild One to be so. The overriding image is that of a woman of the twentieth century, who probably laughs to herself every time she hears the word ‘coping.'”
—Daniel J. Langton, author of Life Forms

“No one writes poems quite like Lucille Day’s—sharp-edged, witty, ironic poems; laugh-out-loud funny poems; startling, disquieting, slightly sinister poems; gorgeously wrought, lyrical poems. With a unique combination of gifts—including the precision of a mathematician, a botanist’s powers of observation, the memoirist’s eye for the critical detail—Day captures the moment midair and pins it to the page. Wild One is a wonderful collection of those moments.”
—Marcia Falk, author of The Book of Blessings

Reject Jell-O

The man I married twice—
at fourteen in Reno, again in Oakland
the month before I turned eighteen—
had a night maintenance job at General Foods.
He mopped the tiled floors and scrubbed
the wheels and teeth of the Jell-O machines.
I see him bending in green light,
a rag in one hand,
a pail of foamy solution at his feet.
He would come home at seven a.m.
with a box of damaged Jell-O packages,
including the day’s first run,
routinely rejected, and go to sleep.
I made salad with that reject Jell-O—
lemon, lime, strawberry, orange, peach—
in a kitchen where I could almost touch
opposing walls at the same time
and kept a pie pan under the leaking sink.
We ate hamburgers and Jell-O
almost every night
and when the baby went to sleep,
we loved, snug in the darkness pierced
by passing headlights and a streetlamp’s gleam,
listening to the Drifters and the Platters.
Their songs wrapped around me
like coats of fur, I hummed in the long shadows
while the man I married twice
dressed and left for work.

Lucille Lang Day

From Wild One, first published
in The Hudson Review