five poems – lana bella



She is teeth to a quiet Monday,
a lost strange girl collects life
on yesterday’s longitude. Cello
clutches wail from fingertips
wrecking back, she is food that
will not feed the high-waisted
jeans, becoming flesh to whirl
magically tall of steps. And yet,
there it was, she hungers skin of
a living flower on the descant
drags of light, curling and wild
like echoes displaced, like alms
of clocks inside an empty room.
Fingers aloft the lip of nocturne,
she postures in the way a rudder
exacts arc into sounds, leaving
small sharp hums after the music
has stopped, like something splits
and inters in the low of the grave.



I stretch midnight long on cedar wall,
soft as symphony mere as dark. Ender
of senses lick at the heels of a spider
curling to the soles of black fly, strike,
hit, shake, ripped wings fall easy upon
wood. I draw breath to open the door,
rhythmic steps feel like spilled rice on
long vowels, alert to the floating rib of
space where my shadow takes the life
of her dead. It is Tuesday, and I am red
for a world paled of skin, exhausted by
all the ways I whisper back, heavy with
lips mouthing the hieroglyph of scars.



Window opened here once
on a Wednesday, like some
tarnished silver incurving
the moon. The man pulled
years from swayed reed in
the winds of fall, weight of
mortal bound swelled with
cliffs and dunes. Billowed
skin and eyes, he cast about
for the dark steel drum of
memory that stilled through
the new world, with refuse of
time keeping his brain alert
to dust and bones. Awake
at the window, he drew up
thin with fingers like a knife,
sawing clear the star filled
sky pouring down on him
from an old coffer of ghosts.



Dawn streaked in crème flesh of
sun among felled trees, I held
solar that hurt to the scent of
the sea. Blueness on the left, I
walked the way I have in sleep
on this water piling earth, sorts
of steps leaked into a voidic beat,
live beneath black glass. Think
me island between rocks, I felt
flowers down the smooth pelt of
bentgrass, judder-muted, until
two bits of sky spilled to earth as
if I was floating in an upside down
ocean, like a tiny, winged ghost.



I have fallen into Friday and
never slept, like deep scars
hanging white the exhaust of
memory. Where long before
dawn, I missed the sheets
on an unmade bed, porcine
of undressed skin stitching
through threads. Fingers felt
to the length of hips where
denim thumbed the black, I
startle the moonrise giving
pale corseted with my window.
But it was easy to memorize
the nothing without feeling for
its wrinkle or smooth, where
I bore the hollow, got skinny in
my limbs stilling a girl from
spinning herself out of shadow.

ghost january

A four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), has work featured in The Cortland Review, EVENT, The Fortnightly Review, Ilanot Review, Midwest Quarterly, New Reader, Notre Dame Review, Sundress Publications & Whiskey Island, among others, and Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3. 

Lana resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps. 

Photo: Mike Kenneally

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