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Ember

by Loisa Fenichell


Night lingers like a virus

endlessly. There’s no desire here

but I’m lying. I lie often, lie

awake with you in mind,

and the dark flowers resting

tirelessly atop my bureau

and the little sightings of sadness

and the lack of explanations

for why I long the way I do.

You held me, once, and still

I’m unsure if you remember:

how you never said, now I’m unable to sleep,

but you continued, still,

like a lighthouse crying

for shore. I wanted first a mother.

My body to hold itself unveiled

to experiences. To the darkness

I raised a small sacrifice:

a mug of tea grown cold

as the dustings of a cloud.

At this point, there’s so much more

you could tell me

that I don’t already know.

I don’t know the fields spangled

by moon in the distance.

The many songs you sang

during your birth. Tonight, though,

it’s music, so much more

than the damage of language.

I do mean I wish I were a musician,

on stage and laughing about it.

See I can’t help the way I stumble

across pastures like a large cow

and have nightmares best in solitude.

In that dream I dreamt of conclusions—

the conclusion of my body

standing next to yours

in the shower, or driving

past mountain ranges

in a red Jeep. How each town

to which we travelled

was stranger than the last,

with strange names like the sounds

of bird calls in the morning.

I fear now saying goodbye

to the blankness of dawn. The blankness

of a summer day, by the river,

when I was by the river,

with you. Or in the wispiness of the forest,

and in the wind of the bay,

and cutting my teeth into the ice

to cancel out the bleeding you caused.

You were a name. I adored you

amidst far too many reddish leaves.



Loisa Fenichell’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and has been featured or is forthcoming in Guernica Magazine, Narrative Magazine, Poetry Northwest, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, “all these urban fields,” was published by nothing to say press and her manuscript, “Wandering in all directions of this earth,” is a Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize 2021 and 2022 finalist. She is the winner of the 2021 Bat City Review Editors' Prize, has been a finalist for Narrative Magazine’s 2021 30 Below contest, a runner-up for Tupelo Quarterly's Tupelo Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the Dorianne Laux / Joe Millar prize. She has been the recipient of an award from Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop and is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia University, where she holds the Writers’ Scholarship.

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