When I visit home there is first my mother and her fridge,
then my mother at the dining room table,
curling out her hands like a circling of crucified monks.
There is a stretched moment before she says hello to me
and even then I can tell she only recognizes me
in my baby photographs, which I have failed to bring.
It takes nine hours on the bus to visit my mother.
It is always at the five-hour mark that my hands begin
to curl the way my mother’s do, feeling that I lack
what it is to take care of myself, how I always seem
in need of a body full of boyhood next to mine, or
else I will break over like the waves of a beach from childhood.
In the fall, the boyhood in the body’s name began
with “M.” There was a bed (not a marriage bed), though I
often wanted to call it a bus, or at best a bike.
He looked at my shoulders like they were made
of mutton, is what I remember best, and held my feet out
dangled in the air, and it was a recurring image, over,
like that of my mother sitting at the dining room table.
I brought “M” to my mother only once and she stared
at him like he was a piece of highway crash, her back an ache.
At this point was when she was beginning to mute
herself. In the corner was her nurse, who smiled,
then escorted us out. I wanted to squeeze the hand of “M.”
Even when I am not on the bus to visit my mother
there is something about the number five, that is, I am
always crying at 5:00am. When I told my therapist this,
and about my stomach, how it often feels made heavy
of thousands of clay newborn bodies, I broke down
before she could say anything, then never saw her again,
though didn’t tell her why.
When reading Simone de Beauvoir’s letters to Sartre
one of the first thoughts through my head was, “Where
are these sorts of letters for me?” There was a pang, because
I cannot be more analytical than this, and it is not until somebody
else’s eyes bore into me like Hamlet’s gravedigger that I try.
At home I see the nurse and my mother
and neither speak. Then it is my bed, with memories
of thrashing bodies, loose, hanging, threadbaring down,
sagging into each other like clumsy pieces of chessboard.
Loisa Fenichell lives in New York, where she spends a good majority of her time dreaming of living in either Vermont or Maine – preferably Maine, due to her fantasy of leading a life similar to that of the lupine lady from Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius (if you have not read Miss Rumphius, please do so). When not planning her future as the next lupine lady, Loisa can be found encompassing the role of a student, specifically at SUNY Purchase, where she double majors in Creative Writing and Literature. When not thinking about Maine and Vermont, and when not being a student, there is a good chance that Loisa can be found reading or writing (or, maybe, running, or practicing yoga, or walking around bookstores trying not to buy yet another book). Loisa loves large bodies of water, dogs, and what is subtly magical. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.