If I forget to cradle your last dying
volt like amateur of frost, forgive
me your lungs of night I've curved
in the giving of red. If I curl away
like the pulse point on your throat,
forgive me the memory of breaths
to the flashes of gold on your skin.
If I halve and halve the hinterland
to the heartache drowning limbs in
dark water, forgive me your heavy
wind circling the dovecot, spindly
and worn from your struggle to rise.
If I raw voice into shadows of night
wiping away the sleep, forgive me
your tethering map of dreams from
which you came lost ashore through
the retching sea. And if we call this
narrative love, forgive me to intend
long ago the reflecting still in season
staid, hungering for what once was
and no longer is with you.


How Much of Touch is Memory?

Sore with whiskey, she parted lips
on her widow’s talk, tending to
the twitch of fingers where tendons
coiled and hard. Here, a sip,
and another, she found succor in
the haze, turning out an obelisk
in that interlude as if she was the life
of a century past, while all histories
lingered near and always.

Pulled up short into her wrung silk of
frock to be adored and caressed,
she hungered the hurting bone of
memory, halving still into the blunt
side of the world, into a vesper cast to
the curio glass. But hand on wrist
stilled above the merest flicker of ice
radiating crisp stress lines, there she
bowed her neck an exquisite carving
that perched suffering on knees, hair fell
to waist about sharp white ribs.


White Lace Over Clover Leaf

What this cancer kneaded into me
at night, cracking a brittle fastness,
the sort to set loafers to pavement
as if I swayed in sync against dirt’s
undertow. Tonight, I stayed cold by
the windowsill, checkered towards
another sleep like an artifact for
all to view on pose of cathartic air.
Coltrane on vinyl, Casablanca on
TV, I feasted on morphine before
the whole weight of me fell jangled
like a weak key, dervish for the thin
bone tattooing string of letters on
glass. My shape blue under the easy
moon, I knew then of memories as
narratives of space, the verses exact,
seeding where the lamplight golded
down my hand, shimmering off skin
that no longer fit. Still, it was lovely
here, my eyes hooked to the tailspin of
clover leaf arcing out like a verdigris
pendant, while I spilled white lace
from slope of shoulder just tenderly.

LANA BELLA is four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net, & Bettering American Poetry nominee, and the 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). She has work featured in over 530 journals, The Cortland Review, EVENT, The Fortnightly Review, Ilanot Review, Midwest Quarterly, New Reader, Notre Dame Review, Sundress Publications, and Whiskey Island, among others. She resides in the U.S. and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mother of two children.