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). Lana's poetry and fiction has been featured in over 500 journals, including Acentos Review, Barzakh, EVENT, The Fortnightly Review, Ilanot Review, New Reader, Notre Dame Review, Rock & Sling, The Stillwater Review, Sundress Publications, & Whiskey Island and Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3. 

Self-portrait of Our Name

Lana Bella

 

Sometimes our name sounds like 

rice and tastes anything more

it would have meant hurt. 

 

When I was fifteen, I watched

the bend of my mother’s prayers

suffering with my newly born

curves, flowering somewhere soft

and dark.

 

I thought of her then leaving too

much sky in the wild north of dawn,

wearing bone that fell midway

down the paddy, clutching vegetal

curls heady on the stalks, fore-

head pressed to damp as my once

great escapades from home.

 

Wiped sweat onto skirt pleats, I

lodged back on old nocturnes held

in the gut by life, plummet of sun

took the long, slow curve into

the bottom of rice field where a girl

walked this land before, lifting

hemlines as to know what seeing

was about her ankles and hips.

 

Yet things I reached for long ago

seemed too far now. Lately, a body

of my own shaping felt more in

the way of someone else’s storm,

how I born to my mother as a girl of

magic but I was with it frightened

of the moon, and how there was

nothing like the memory of us that

can’t leave me the same, feeling

every cut that won’t close.

© 2015 Cogswell College •  191 Baypointe Parkway, San Jose, CA 95134 800.264.7955 • www.cogswell.edu