though small, you tugged
the bough like a draped valance,
thin arms swiped at the leaves
in full-measured strokes,
with fallen mites waiting to crawl into
the dart holes of your skin–
I would see those same pearly teeth
and flickering tongue,
where the universe gleaned
from you not apologies,
but tears of beating wings
and guts ripe for climbing through
tree stumps of that elm tree–
when the sky moaned,
you nudged me from a lavish sleep
where the wind coughed up
fused ornaments that had settled
into the ripples of waning sun,
and in those flecks of light upon
you held in your eyes the rough bark
that sloped to the roots with
the tilt of your head,
your heart beneath the sky might just
dance over the ground with
your feet beneath–
A BENNIE TO BE WOUND
She is busy with disappointments and
soon will deprive her feet the soft-down
slippers as she floods her lips the swift
dance of watery coffee. If there was hope
once, it is now an appetite for green girls
who smelled of cornfield and wore dress
of dandelion plumes.
Today, she wakes with her throat’s culled
by its rigid mesh, and her eyes are glass
marble pockmarked from gray ash shell.
But the porcelain skin, the one she irons
flat with the impermanence of Botox and
dermal fillers, still halts the left hook of
time and right jab of self-loathing.
Now she hugs her thin waist as she would
a gentlest probing of the syringe, for pale
sky returns shouts into the room, ruffles
the syllables of her shame, that resembles
nothing more than a pile of ill-gotten gains.
As the air of August holds a scent of rose-
buds, she draws deeper into the bowstring
of dewed soil; until the fallen tresses and
her lungs both grab each other’s blues and
YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH INCOMPLETION
How could the body not mock itself
when the sliding of flesh
across light, space and shadow
proves architecturally futile?
You are alone now
on the sweltering floor,
draining sweat down the white grouts
like pouring of failed adulthood.
The night comes down,
you are hungry and holding your belly
In some minutes elsewhere,
a strong, blue-eyed man
who knows you by the feel of your skin,
will stamp through your sleep,
until his eyes stop twinkling,
fingers pull on the trigger and shoot.
Your appetite is always
the cracked roof of a refuge, grandeur of
a reprieve, prospect in a finality.
Still, incompletion fills you, reflects in
the rituals of you closing
your eyes to blind faith with metal handcuffs
to wear, and pinned fatigue with
a stomach full of pills you long for.
I BLEW YOUR ABSENCE ON MY TRUMPET LIPS
I blew your absence
on my trumpet lips like a pathos,
or a plunge chasing the hollow
hanging limp about my throat.
When I breathed out,
flocks of migrating timbres eddied
through the lead pipe,
and I thought, How brave are they
that they could be borne from
something so unstable
such as I?
Then how my pinky finger,
browner than the mahogany sun,
facilitated the triggering
that wagged my mood into flames,
during which my other fingers
were doing their easy task
of holding on the trigger.
A Pushcart nominee, Lana has a diverse work of poetry and fiction published and forthcoming with over 160 journals, including a chapbook with Crisis Chronicles Press (Winter 2016), Abyss & Apex, Chiron Review, Coe Review, Columbia Journal, Foundling Review, Fourth & Sycamore, Galway Review, Harbinger Asylum, Literary Orphans, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Quarterly, William Jessup University, and elsewhere, among others. She divides her time between the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang Vietnam, where she is the wife of a talking-wonder novelist and a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps. https://www.facebook.com/niaallanpope
(Featured image credit: Max Levine)