Shift By Loisa Fenichell


My mother was always best
at wearing only her own hands.
She would wander the house
with one palm above the other
against her lonely belly.

Often she would wrap stacks
of snake skin around her throat.
The snake skin belonged
to my Grandfather, had hung
against the walls of his apartment.
We visited Grandfather everyday
before he died.

When he died my problem
was that I didn’t drink enough
water. At the funeral there
was only ice water but with
too much ice, the suffocation
of the water too much
like the suffocation
of my grandfather’s corpse
through the dirt.

The day following the funeral
I walked to school with my hands
breaking themselves against grey
road. I spent most of the walk
trying to force myself to cry. I
was hoping that if I got to school
crying I would be comforted by a boy.

That I had this hope at all
is what made me cry in the first place,
but each time no more than short bursts.

When my grandfather first died
I was sure I would think about him
everyday afterwards, which I have
not done, which is maybe where
the guilt comes from: the guilt
building itself up in my gut
and rising bile to my throat like a boy’s cum.

Then the boys as a displacement
for the guilt. I can do no more
than watch them stand in their
tan coats and brown boots
like cruel stretched dirty iron.

By Loisa Fenichell


Loisa Fenichell loves what is subtly magical. When not writing poetry and when not doing homework and when not in class (she is a student at SUNY Purchase, where she primarily studies Literature and Creative Writing), she can be found reading, running, practicing yoga, walking around bookstores trying not to buy yet another book, and/or dreaming of Maine. Some of her poems can be found at You may contact her at

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