Sara Femenella

Two poems from Sara Femenella’s Elegies for One Small Future

followed by a note on the author


I will kill the babies myself I say
like a good woman the story of my tears
is the story of my bleeding all my shedding
every month I emerge a crying stone
curl in my socket of dried blood
as my body kills the babies one by one
and after I wash myself clean
I wash myself where their blood ran
through me I wash until there is no blood
wash until there is no skin or muscle
until there is no body until there are no
hands I wash until the water runs dry
until I am a rough stone, stone down
to the heart of me and I do not even cry



In Bad Faith

Elsewhere a bell rings
medieval in its calling and here

I fumble for a reliquary,
any bit of cloth or bone

my religion left me
naked on a marble slab

what else is faith? The inner eye
takes the initiative like Medea

spent centuries believing pregnancy
would save us, programmed ambition

through seasonal depression,
social media and NPR, and there

the elsewhere bell clangs the myth
as pure and ruinous as an all-boys choir,

angelic sons already smoking
with the violence we burn.

My son is my greatest pagan idol
I even love his shit, my feminism

a split tongue wanting
what others have, unrepentant

for each of the thousand pregnancies
I bet on the prophecy of a son

that will one day destroy us
and my witch hysteria begs

to whom Dear Body
shall I give you?

My love language lies somewhere
between the book of shadows and pizza

delivered still hot: my husband
built the back deck himself

my son drew me a Mother’s Day card
strewn with both hearts and ghosts

and whether or not such happiness
is an illusion the elsewhere bell

rings like a scapegoat
for the grandmothers who

spilled blood in the kitchen
but kept the floors so clean

you could eat off them
this is our inheritance, the sainthood

we hungered, the hexes we cast
to hold any space in line

for the next woman rushing to make it
home in time for dinner.



Niobe first appeared in Jukejoint Magazine; In Bad Faith first appeared in Seventh Wave.

Sara Femenella’s poems have been published in Pleiades, The Journal, The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, Denver Quarterly, Salamander, The Shore and Seventh Wave, among others. Her forthcoming book of poems, Elegy for One Small Future, was a semi-finalist for Autumn House Press’ Poetry Prize, a finalist for Write Bloody Publishing’s Jack Mccarthy Book Prize and a semi-finalist for The Waywiser Press Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.