Rust-colored ladybugs, clustered like grapes,
mate on horsetails that wave by a creek,
where silvery salmon spawn and leap
when the sandbar breaks at the gate to the sea.
The ladybugs have come hundreds of miles,
from valley to coast, for this singles bash.
The females are choosy: they twiddle the males,
seeking appendages padded with fat.
And all around—high in redwood burls,
on elk-clover leaves, and in the rich soil—
the meaning of life is to stroke and prod
under a humpbacked moon, dissolving in fog.
By Lucille Lang Day
Lucille Lang Day has published ten poetry collections and chapbooks, most recently Becoming an Ancestor and Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems, which won the 2014 Blue Light Poetry Prize. She is also co-editor of the anthology Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California as well as the author of two children’s books, Chain Letter and The Rainbow Zoo, and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story, which received a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. She received her MA in English and MFA in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and her MA in zoology and PhD in science/mathematics education at the University of California, Berkeley.
Photo of Muir Woods, California, by R.A. Lang