Francesca Bell


Chilly times,
            all of us hunched
                        before flickering half-lives

                                    we clutch in our palms,
                        bent to the small light like plants
            bent to frigid, filtering windows.
I, too, finger the cool, slick surfaces,

            slide screens open and open,
                        meaning to work, but, easy as a twitch,
                                    reach the couple and enter
                        their bright space with my digital eye
            that can find anything. She is so naked.

Even the hair on her privates
            has been removed, as privacy itself
                        has been stripped.

                                    I watch him lick
                        where she’s been waxed
            to nothing
and turn her,
            spread her for the camera.
                        I peer into the little darkness
                                    her flesh holds,

                        thinking how a person can’t stop herself,
            how the body swells, helpless,
no matter the cold.

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