December sun appears a mile up 

the hill, jerking its long, thin chain 

like a penance. The fourth-pint

weight of you husks into center of

bones, too slender in the treachery

of snow casting threads to wind.

Much about egrets dragging from

dust storm and ocean, shrug off

sorrows on the hunt for briars and

food, setting you adrift through

the nest of all that remains. Beard

coarse on chin, you look to offering

of fields sere in their austere lines,

where the frozen air knows the land

it brings misery that sieves down

the throat of a starving man. Until

you trail the coterie of spoils enough

to unsettle the lives beside your

own, you hunger the salt of deeper

waters shuffling stones, for soon so

far away you’ll like to settle to some-

where else quietly, give praise to

the ground that gives nothing back.




Palm roughs for the flick of a coin,

you are an open-hand rattler

hollowing out the air’s stiff grains.

Moving autumn with your wake,

you walk roads of names you long

to remember, curving at the places to

go back, ghosting lambent beneath

smoky hills. Big sky knocks birds

from the trees as if the aches in you

explode out the woolen stiff of

your hand; fingers pass lonely from

tipsy sloshes of a cup, yet holding

back the thirst that will bitter through

the bone and bloat. Shelter ghosts

on sturdy spine, you run to the soft

gray edge some miles out, hold onto to

ohms of someone else’s nocturnes,

running away, running towards

the well-lit dim of you running into

a sunset, sucked for air like a locked

click, your flight in the instant’s damp.





By compass rose, the tiny girl

tread daffodils on sloe stones,

touched careful of wrist to river,

loosening a cocoon’s seams of

autumn. It was different from

before, this turning, self giving

to coves and lakes, in the soil of

her hands. Fingers planted seeds 

on night as such, tender pink 

charting scent of rain all crisp 

curves, ten brave tips turning up

like memory’s unlocked joints.

Sclerotic with hours splintered of

husk and hull, she palped from

wires of silverfish flicking stout

of green, rustling her lullabies to

the snakes, be felled like sinews

leafing out beyond the river pale.




Dearest world, I am sundered in 

the dawning grey, fluting air 

after the Shearwaters’ flights. 

Making ceremony of the dark, 

I rock me through the rough 

and tumbled floor, where tales 

of sunken ships pitch up from 

hinterland of the wider world. 

One if by sea, I air-bruise into

waves with lungful of sand on 

some faraway beach, foam-agog

with 68.65 mph wind worth of 

chills. Off the margin and into 

vast, I hunger more for the black

walled in glass, rise and fall as 

confits of the seer and peppery 

seen casting off from the sunrise

on the ford, as I myself go reef

to ochre fowls, pearl-button shirt

nerves wet to the salt-set down.




Stern dipped two seas in the herons’

girth, broken fish leaping floes

traversed anglers of men wristing

their young. Sun perched some

innards near, smooth and cool riving

five-fingered hands into the bottom

mouth, stewing at the hull as lips

to ear learned to breathe foreign air

about the Pacific warmth. If there

was such a thing as a soul, you,

song sparrows and silver birds, you,

blue herons like penny-spent wings
searching for a snug spot diving

waves on coral reefs, you will quick

licks of the throat’s longing and know

the sea by its hymns, before you

could only be whir of brine crashing

on shore, darken by a gray wash.


About the Poet

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 had poetry and fiction featured with over 500 journals, Acentos Review, Barzakh, EVENT, The Fortnightly Review, Ilanot Review, New Reader, Notre Dame Review, Rock and Sling, The Stillwater 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.