Maybe You Would Be Right
Denise Mozilo Frasca

September 28, 2015

                   Dark and Light, bad and good, are not different but one and the same. —Heraclitus

You said you did your best with me
so I guess a blow
across the jaw with broken Wedgewood
is an improvement over your worst
which would be the fork landed
in Sissy’s eye when she was 17

I felt quiet and afraid
but you say I was Ethel Merman
on a high wire
I do remember using
Daddy’s barber scissors to cut off my pigtails
the sound so different from ripping
and then the shock
on your face that a 4 year old would do such a thing

Many memories of you I wish I could erase
but not the tucking in bed on a summer night
or reading Little Women and Charlotte’s Web aloud in the dusky bedroom

You never gave me the satisfaction of feeling really loved by you
even near the end when I hoped to fix the unfixable
you came out of your coma only to accuse me of wanting to kill you

I flew out to Los Angeles four times
because if nothing else a good daughter is there
when her mother dies but you waited
until I landed home

You wouldn’t see it that way I know
you would say the plate dropped and a piece flew up and cut my face
and you had to pull my hair that hard so I would listen
that you held on to spare me the pain of watching your last breath
that every day was like Ma, and Jo and Meg and Beth and Amy

                                                                 – and the bond between a spider and some pig


Denise Mozilo Frasca is a writer, educator, wife, mother, and grandmother (not necessarily in that order). She has received the James Nicholson Political Poetry Award for her poem “Memorial Day,” and was a selected poet for Poets and Writers on War and Peace. Her poems have been published in Mother/ Daughter Duets, a collection of essays and poems about adult daughter/mother relationships, and in The Westchester Review.

What motivates her to create:
Structure. I love that in a poem, everything counts—assonance, meter, rhyme, imagery, rhythm, syntax-and nothing is more immediately gratifying than when all the elements come together in a well-written poem. I enjoy “trying-on” other poet’s styles. Many of my poems started as an answer to a poem by another poet. I love the challenge of poetry prompts and trying new poetic forms. Many of my poems are not about anything I was trying to convey but simply just the product of my being intrigued by a particular poetry form. Awareness. I notice language in everything I hear and read. I look to “steal” odd word combinations, and to use unusual words in my pieces. I have birthed poems from store names, technical instructions and New York Times articles. Other artists. A trip to MoMA to see Matisse, a big band concert at the Ridgefield Playhouse, Beautiful on Broadway or an Author Talk with Richard Price at Jacob Burns often take on a second purpose—feeding my poetry. A good book. Reading well-crafted fiction pushes me to improve my own writing. Sometimes I meet a character in a book, and take on the challenge of writing a poem in her voice. Life’s difficulties. Often creating a poem is a part of my emotional process, such as when my mother died, or when I went through a bumpy patch in my marriage. I have used it to express my fears about my children growing up and away, and to fantasize about another path my life may have taken.