Basement Babes Poetry, Basement Babes Zine

Poems by Loisa Fenichell




Oaks could have been

god had I believed in god.

There was him but he was not

the god-like figure I’d waited for:

black hair, soot across the teeth.

He brought aches to my belly

like the dirty sailor who

carves tails away from fish.


I was raised to believe

that each new day is a holy war –

this he instilled in me

all over again; he brought to me

words I’d never learned

to say before, to say:

in one corner of a room

forever waits the biting flies.



At first, I trembled; is this

how they pray in church?

There were the alter boys

in the church down the street,

but none had the black hair

down to their shoulders.

They read the Bible, knew

of the morals that did not

exist on earth. Not once did

I see them climb the oak trees

in the church’s front yard.


Once when I scraped my elbow

climbing an oak, he was there

screaming, ‘bone! bone!’

as if he’d just seen me

with a bird’s brain

like how when I was younger the children

used to see me, screamed, ‘bird brain!

bird brain!’ Later I’d hoped

to be asked, ‘was there blood?’

Then I, as if in church again,

would have answered,

soft as hell, ‘yes.’




She does she
asks me: how does it feel? and usually I do not reply
except for in dead winter, when
all seems godlike as heavy snow.

We are in bed together
and she swoops down her hand,
brings it to my soft shaped belly,
tells me about
when the boys harmed her
in the fields – how much she
still hurts. I stop to cover my eyes.


By Loisa Fenichell

Featured in Basement Babes, Issue 16

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