by Lana Bella

December wind coasts 
parallel to the girl beside it. 
Above, a lattice of night sky 
stirs open with heaven’s ateliers,
like a bed of reeds hosting
well-fed drove of birds. 
When the world is reduced to
wet risk of starling and folk tales,
she walks the blue of water
with rear-length starless hair,
speech becomes lips and tongue
on the ladder of erstwhile air.

She is the cold scavenged dream
where the lay is always 
a tourniquet pressed on opium,
lips fluent in vodka tonics and needle
marks seal red on skin—low and close,
like a breath withheld until gasped, 
she wraps the thin wild sail in 
scarves around her throat,
closes her eyes, skin burrows 
into soft hollows where temple 
meets hard muzzle of the Colt 45.

A Pushcart nominee, Lana Bella is an author of two chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016) and Adagio (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 300 journals, 2RiverCalifornia QuarterlyChiron ReviewColumbia JournalPoetry Salzburg ReviewSan Pedro River ReviewThe Hamilton Stone ReviewThe Ilanot ReviewThe Writing DisorderThird WednesdayTipton Poetry JournalYes Poetry, and elsewhere, among others. She resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps.

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