January 24–30, 2022
Fran Lubecki-Wilde (she/they) writes and edits poetry in Denver, CO. She holds a BA in psychological science from Pomona College and works in community behavioral health. Fran interned for Copper Canyon Press in 2019. Last summer, she was named a Brooklyn Poets Fellow for study in Rosebud Ben-Oni’s Those Days of Being Wild workshop on poetry of recklessness and catharsis.
Notes on Aging and Memory
A young woman, my grandmother is thrown
through a car windshield—two decades
later, she threatens
my mother’s life, holds a fire
iron to her temple, screams, assaults
my aunt with a carving knife on Easter. I am five,
sitting at her table. I wait outside. Later
my aunt says she’s calm
goes back to living
in her car.
Weeks ago, my grandmother lifts her
shirt to show us an incision imagined
across her chest. The medication acclimates. The rage
in her eyes dissipates before reaching
her extremities. Power of attorney stays
my mother’s tensile voice during
car rides down
each weekend. Testimony’s
How her neuron tangles
cluster with degenerating
ends no one can know,
we imagine since no one can
know before autopsy. When
we arrive, my mother offers
to help her mother soften balm
in her hands, for the first time
We wait outside for her
to calm. We wait
on the porch.
Tell us about the making of this poem.
I started this poem a couple of years ago in search of clarity, to make sense of the complexities of familial relationships as I witnessed those relationships changing rapidly and indefinitely. Through drafts, I struggled with how to move through time, juxtaposing a disorienting compression of many years of memories with the slow-burn recognition of my grandmother’s neurological degeneration. This poem helped me acknowledge my desire for resolution even as I questioned whether that resolution was possible.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a poetry project contouring tensions and resonances between research, outreach and lived experiences of post-traumatic stress.
What’s a good day for you?
A good day is sunny. I read and write in bed in the early morning and have time for a long run before work in the late afternoon.
Where’s home for you? How long have you lived there? What do you like about it? How is it changing? How does it compare to other places you’ve lived?
Denver is home for now. I moved here in March 2020, and I like that my mom lives here and that I have a view of the Rockies. My sense of home has changed since moving here; it feels more stable and long-term than other places I’ve lived as an adult, but there’s still a part of me that feels like home is a state of mind, not a physical location.
What does a poetry community mean to you? Have you found that where you live? Why or why not?
A poetry community means people who galvanize me to read and write, whose work compels me to respond through my own disciplined practice. I’ve found this community through Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver and through Brooklyn Poets, where I’ve met fellow writers who are excited about continuing discussions about poetry outside of workshop.
Tell us about some Brooklyn poets who have been important to you.
Marina Greenfeld introduced me to Brooklyn Poets! She’s been a Brooklyn Poets Fellow and Poet of the Week. She is such a generous writer and thinker whose willingness to share her knowledge and insights about poetry and life makes me very grateful to call her a friend and collaborator.
Who were your poetry mentors and how did they influence you?
Prageeta Sharma, whose workshops I was privileged to attend as an undergraduate, consistently encouraged cerebral turns in poetry and, in doing so, made space for me to consider scientific concepts (that I was exposed to in psychology coursework) through the more expansive lens of poetic imagination. The work I did in workshop with Prageeta continues to be the bedrock of my poetic ambitions.
Tell us about the last book(s) and/or poem(s) that stood out to you and why.
I read Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Patricia Lockwood over New Year’s, and this book stood out to me because of how instinctual the connections are that Lockwood draws between sexuality and nationality. Her speaker demonstrates such a strong sense of trust in their perspective and acuity to recognize patterns, creating metaphors in which the lines between vehicle and tenor are blurred as both concepts (of nation and sexuality) reinforce and clarify one another.
What are some books or poems you’ve been meaning to read for years and still haven’t gotten to?
My dad sent me a collected works of Sylvia Plath for Christmas, which I’m excited to read and which feels like a long time coming.
Describe your reading process. Do you read one book at a time, cover to cover, or dip in and out of multiple books? Do you plan out your reading in advance or discover your next read at random? Do you prefer physical books or digital texts? Are you a note-taker?
I read cover to cover and, though I keep trying to read multiple books from multiple genres at once, I always end up choosing one I can’t put down and reading it completely before getting back to the rest of the books on my list.
What’s one thing you’d like to try in a poem or sequence of poems that you haven’t tried before?
I want to write a pantoum!
Where are some places you like to read and write (besides home, assuming you like to be there)?
I am a homebody: I read and write at home almost exclusively. However, last winter, I went to a lot of open houses and was always so intrigued by the books in people’s homes. I got a kick out of finding a book and a comfortable place to read in a different domestic space. It was the only way I could get a feel for what it would be like to live there.
What are some Brooklyn spaces you love? Why?
I don’t know! I need to visit.
Fill in the blanks in these lines by Whitman:
I celebrate complexity,
And what I study you design,
For every latticed me as good at holding you.