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We knew spring was coming because our legs grew sore as birds’ beaks. I’m talking specifically of the trees that grew, their hollowed-out ways of being, their sharpness like mnemonic devices. I do not know where the ancestors came from, or if they thought they would grow and swell and multiply with the saplings. I picture them all in one apartment and sweeping floorboards. Making peace with shattered buildings. In the tenement museum, very young, looking over at the small bed pushed to the wall, that subtle honing of violence. Perhaps had I changed one word or that I might have pressed my cheekbones to the bed even after the tour guide had moved on, to the windows broken as first mornings. The residents, they too knew of yearly spring: the earth tilting like smoke.


It’s the mountains the most. This much is true. That I’ll miss their soft drips of rain. Their hunger acute and painful as even the strangest departure. I wanted love, naturally, the way the infant weeps or the dog hunts for a stray sparrow. I thought up ways to use my language and even then, did not stop grieving. Though was never a widow. Never did pause in my kitchen and think, yes, I miss him, even when I did. Overflowed the bathtub instead. Carried stale water from the sink, cupped it in my hands as though prepared for a specific kind of drowning. I remember the bizarre ways I had of spelling out my words. The crouching I conducted at my bed until my knees bruised, turned into the color of rain. I speak most of formless thoughts – those thoughts that float as eggshells through a pot of ocean. It’s not that I cried for hours when anybody – when you – died. Then again, maybe I did. This much I can’t stand to remember.

Listen to Loisa read "Scene XXI" and "Scene XLVII" below:

00:00 / 03:28
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LOISA FENICHELL's work has been featured or is forthcoming in Guernica Magazine, Poetry Northwest, Tupelo Quarterly, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. Her debut collection, “all these urban fields,” was published by nothing to say press. She will be an MFA candidate at Columbia University come Fall of 2021.

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