The McKinley Review Magazine

The man on the park bench near the river thames

By: Lana Bella | Posted on: July 2018 

that day, the man plopped down on

a bench near the river Thames,

slate dawn smeared heavy

over his body, dissolving into

the sockets of his bones

like an omen—

he sat with a disposition

the color of black bottom water,

hands upturned,

index fingers poised to pull

the length of sky off his shadow,

even then, his mind went to

the brainless things, drunk on silence—


staring past the river where the moss

grew over stones,

his eyes were empty and

lusterless as windblown leafs,

unwashed, unshaven,

the man hummed a tune off-keyed

above and around his breath,

as if he has not kept track of

some long ago song, leaving the air

a muddy stain of dissonance—

still he sat through cigarettes and brief

partings of sunlight,

careful to the wind but awkward

to himself,

and twitched to the conscious

every now and again

only from the jab of his upraised fist—



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), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 500 journals, Acentos Review, Barzakh, EVENT, The Fortnightly Review, Ilanot Review, New Reader, Notre Dame Review, Rock and Sling, The Stillwater Review, Sundress Publications & Whiskey Island, among others, and Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3. Lana resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps.