December knows by now to be quieter / gentler / our eyes bloodshot and bleary / we crawl to the finish line only to reveal a sprawling new marathon / but December knows / how much grief it holds in its unwilling chest cavity / the year my mother melted away / left sour-poked bruises and sighs in her wake / the year my little brother died / and I never saw his feet or his fingers or his grave / the year I dragged myself downtown / to throw my body off a building / yes, December knows all this / shoves its fists in its mouth because everyone got tired of hearing it scream / christmas lights cascade / like forgotten, flammable waterfall / off the edge of someone else’s dream / there’s no tree / no dust-coated stockings / no white infant jesus / we won’t give this year the satisfaction / of waving it goodbye / not after the pummeling it gave us / not after it ripped off every band-aid and the flesh beneath them, too / my dog slurps down my hot chocolate / while I teach myself to weep / it’s christmas and I watch her closely / if death comes back I want to see it / I want to see / him / we’re downtown again / and the city knows now how to freeze / cold seeps in like drowning ice water / December heaves out a sigh / it’s almost over / the clock is counting down and then singing off-key and then spiraling drunk down the drain / how did you survive this? I ask / how did you survive two decades of me? / December ignores the question, squeezes my hand and points / there’s the building / sitting dark and faceless in this graveyard city / do you remember? / I close my eyes /ten… nine… eight / feel the rush of ten stories and relentless cement / four… three… two / I remember / I never did come back down those stairs.
fairy’s wings / sweet things
it is a little known fact that
girls can do anything- those
tiny fingers thread life into
november’s shy cold.
I’m making shreds of shimmery
lace into makeshift fairy wings.
baby wheelchairs for dolls
when my dog rips their legs off.
I’m stirring weigela petals
into sugar water as a soup for
honey bees. holding the bowl
above my head in the yard,
yelling come and get it. I lean in
close to the plants growing
unruly out of sidewalk cracks,
listen to their soft softsecrets.
and I’m chasing down turquoise-
winged dragonflies before my
lungs know the rasp of terror.
the sun is bleeding indigo
in its wake and somewhere,
my mother is calling my name.
but there is a man emerging
from behind the trees. in the dark,
he is only two wild-gleaming
eyes. he says, well hello there.
aren’t you a sweet little thing.
my mother’s voice tiptoes further
away and his weathered hand traces
my curly hair. you’re like a lil
porcelain doll. his fingers move
to my cheek and for the first time,
my hands go cold and trembling.
the plants are hushed silent. for the
first time, I can’t do anything.
porcelain doll, he says, trancelike.
Wanda Deglane is a capricorn from Arizona. She is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants and attends Arizona State University. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry, L’Ephemere Review, and Yes Poetry, among other lovely places. Wanda is the author of Rainlily (2018), Lady Saturn (Rhythm & Bones, 2019), Venus in Bloom (Porkbelly Press, 2019), and Bittersweet (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019).