Neighbours: Room #31

ROOM #31

Hands steeped into a reprieve,
legs walked the starved hallway where the air was
as defiled as feigned innocence,
gold eyes flicked to the end of the corridor,
lids peeled back before her sight took hold of
the hundred souls wandering,
cries percussed upon walls in words that smeared
her skin from the many toothless smiles
and sorrow sprayed wide in a tapestry
of crimson rain,

she walked into Room #31,
her neighbor’s head lay on a pillow,
anchored between sour lime walls and
the tasteless air that seemed to pervade the place,
his bed, cold and wrinkled,
its white sheets bundled tenuous flesh,
entombing his translucent bone like an incubator,
mouth aired as a baby bird waiting for feed,
a knit cap girdled his shaven head, pulling taut
over the skin that no longer sensed her touch,

he woke in startle as a living dead exhaled,
coughing, spewing dark phlegm from his famished maw,
plopping down at the edge of the bed,
she could feel her sadness dangling over the metal rails,
sensing it sank down the crisscrossed grouts on the tiled floor
where her quiet feet were deprived of direction,

she remained in repose,
a hyphen between a friend and a caretaker,
spine curled back into the winter coat that was bunched
about the chest to waistline,
because her breaths were hardened and waiting,
waiting for his fingers to close over hers,
while lips reflected to the strange windowless room
from which he has been sleeping.

neighbours theme3

Lana Bella

A Pushcart nominee, Lana has a diverse work of poetry and fiction
published and forthcoming with over 130 journals, including a chapbook
with Crisis Chronicles Press (spring 2016), Ann Arbor Review, Chiron
Review, Coe Review, Harbinger Asylum, Literary Orphans, Poetry Salzburg
Review, Poetry Quarterly, QLRS (Singapore), Sein Und Werden (UK), White
Rabbit (Chile) and elsewhere, among others.

Lana divides her time between the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang,
Vietnam, where she is a wife of a talking-wonder novelist, and a mom of
two far-too-clever frolicsome imps.