Francesca Bell


Each month comes the reminder
of the gash God made in me.
I like to think He made it
with one finger, the way an artist
will reach right into a painting
and finish it off. Not bothering
with brush or sponge,
just making with a finger
that last mark needed
to disturb the image enough
that the eye believes it.


the man remembers your body,
remembers to love you again,
flicks you like a switch
that has waited, ready
in the room’s shadows.
Loneliness rises from each
reclaimed centimeter
of your skin. You are so
eager you are humiliated,
rushing forth like a hound
loosed in woods, your cry
like joy or keening, a baying
that bursts out of you, months
of waiting become sound. After,
the man sleeps, peaceful, but you
are a door he’s opened, a path
grown over now beaten
back down. You feel his life,
which will end before yours,
slide slowly away into the dark.

FRANCESCA BELL’s poetry appears in many journals, including New Ohio Review, North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, and Zone 3. She has been nominated eight times for the Pushcart Prize and once for Best of the Net. She won the 2014 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle.

Read more by Francesca Bell:

Poems, translations, and essays in B O D Y
Poem in Rattle
Author website, bio and poems
Five poems under some severe PANKage
Poem in phantom limb