About The Rainbow Zoo

Come join us for a tour of the Rainbow Zoo!

We can stop for a lunch of plaid hot dogs and be entertained by maroon monkeys and indigo frogs…

Young readers will learn the names of animals and also the names of colors—familiar ones such as red and blue, as well as more unusual ones such as fuchsia and turquoise.

Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles

The upstairs room in the yellow house
across the street from the Roman arena
in Arles is almost as he painted it: bowl
and pitcher on a small table, two chairs,
a bed with yellow sheets and a red comforter,
the only difference a second small table
with a box for the artist’s brushes and palette.
For a few euros, you can enter this fiction.
The actual corner house that Vincent rented
from Widow Venissac in 1888 was hit
by an Allied bomb, blown into history.

But who can say what’s real? The same
Provençal sun warms this house as the one
where he wanted to fill his guest room
with paintings of sunflowers. “I want
to make it into a true artist’s house,” he wrote.
“Everything—from the chairs to the pictures—
should have character.” And if this character
is captured by designers who copied his room
here on a street where he must have walked,
perhaps this is now a true artist’s house too,
where one could go mad dreaming of sunflowers.

— Lucille Lang Day


From Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems,
first published in U.S. 1 Worksheets

Becoming an Ancestor

According to the dictionary, I’m not
an ancestor yet, only a grandparent
of a blond boy who clomps in his new sandals,
then throws me a ball strewn with black
stars and moons on a white background,
and a bow-legged baby girl with blue eyes,
all smiles today in her hooded carrier—
a child born the day my own grandfather
would have turned 130. He never knew
he had grandchildren, let alone great greats.

My own toddler days of warm cookies,
crayons and Betsy Wetsy dolls don’t seem
far away, but I am en route to becoming
an ancestor. Lucy and Ricky are dead.
Barbie is past fifty. Even the hippies
are history. When my grandchildren show
their grandchildren my photo in an old
album, I wonder what they’ll say.
That I swore like a trucker when I was hurt?
Blew like Vesuvius when I was mad?

They might recall I was always late, never
learned to knit or crochet, had brown hair,
couldn’t cook worth a damn but could carry
a tune, took poetry books everywhere,
liked to know birds and insects by name,
overreacted in both bad and good ways,
was unreasonably vain for someone my age,
had legs like a crane and liked to dance.

— Lucille Lang Day

From Becoming an Ancestor,
first published in ForPoetry.com

From Married at Fourteen

I started seriously looking for a husband when I was twelve. I’d had enough of being a child, enough of being told what to do. I was unhappy at school; I resented homework; I didn’t get along with my mother. Having seen movies like South Pacific, Sayonara, and A Summer Place, I believed in true love. More than anything, I wanted Rossano Brazzi, Marlon Brando, or Troy Donahue to come rescue me from my childhood. I wanted to be an adult, to be free, and to be loved.

The grown-ups always warned that getting pregnant as a teenager would ruin your life, but I didn’t believe them. I felt that in truth my life would be ruined if I had to live with my mother much longer: her nagging would drive me crazy. And my sanity would benefit even more if I could be freed from boring math drills and stuck-up classmates. A high school diploma? I didn’t need one. I already knew everything I’d ever need to know.

My thoughts on all these things began to crystallize in the summer of 1960, after my sixth-grade graduation from Egbert W. Beach School in Piedmont, California. That summer I went to Camp Augusta, where Piedmont Blue Birds and Campfire Girls rode horses, swam, wove key chains from long strips of colored plastic, and painted daisies on salt and pepper shakers for their mothers. On the bus, which took us from the Piedmont Community Center to the Sierra foothills, we sang “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall” and “A Hot Time in the Old Town.” But my fun was to be short-lived. Singing on the bus, I had no inkling that once at Camp Augusta, I would spend my time figuring out how to avoid the broom treatment, and that having accomplished that, I would dive headlong into a turbulent adolescence.

Lucille Lang Day

Goals for Student Learning

Students will:

1.   Be able to carry out a simple scientific investigation.

2.   Be able to describe a variety of healthcare and biomedical science careers.

3.   Be able to give examples of current topics of biomedical research.

4.   Report engaging in healthy behaviors such as eating more vegetables and exercising more often.

5.   Be able to define basic terms related to the human body such as “cell” and “artery.”

6.   Be able to explain the function of organs and organ systems such as “heart” and “immune system.”

Renée with Fan

After a painting by Barbara Rogers

I stand in the jungle,
dressed in white,
my turban tied.

I’ve been here for years
in my jewels,
wearing the same
red smile,

always ready
for something rare,
bringing a crystal bell

or stained-glass ladder
through ferns
and rubber trees,
the rush of breathing.

A flamingo lifts
its wings
but does not fly;
leaves turn silver.

brings dreams
shifting like sand,
the moon’s whisper.

Somewhere near
there is always the toll
of the sea,

there is always the
taste of ash on my lips,
the wait.

— Lucille Lang Day

From Fire in the Garden,
first published in Transfer

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

Neural Folds

For John Teton

The frog embryos spin,
a million tiny skaters
in bright sacs. Soon
neurons will web each body,
spreading fine mesh
through muscle and skin.

First, the neural folds
must fuse. Crest cells
edging a moon-bald field
reach with bulbous arms;
flowing inward, they move
toward each other.

And when they finally meet,
melding together, cell by cell,
there is no explanation:
they know who they are.
I can almost hear them
yammering in strange tongues.

Lucille Lang Day

From Self-Portrait with Hand Microscope,
first published in The New York Times Magazine


The infinitesimal infinity dances—
a speck of force
at the edge of a petal, where
electrons are leprechauns
that always slip away
and have no quarks.

The hand-sized infinity opens—
an ivory rose
unfolding in the fifth
through tenth dimensions.

I keep it in a vase
on a lace-covered table
in the family-sized infinity
whose rooms collect dust
galaxies composed
of mites and minute
particles of skin.

Set theory says there is
an infinite number
of infinities of different sizes,
but as each leaf curls
and one by one
the petals let go,
I wonder if omega
might equal one
and the stars might slow
and dim like fireflies.

No! Let the universe
shrink to a pinhead,
then explode in flames
where possibilities bloom
endlessly again
among blue-striped roses
in new time and space.

Lucille Lang Day

From Infinities

From How to Encourage Girls in Math and Science

It is a fact of American life today that family survival is dependent on the abilities and incomes of all adults. The kinds of mathematical and technical skills we need to care for our own needs, to be creative, and to survive in the job market escalate daily. At the current pace, computer technology may soon be as basic to literacy as reading and writing. As a society, we cannot afford to inhibit the creativity of over half our population. In these times of economic and environmental crisis, the quality and effectiveness of our social solutions depend on the perspectives that women, as well as men, bring to science and technology.

Joan Skolnick, Carol Langbort,
and Lucille Day