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by Wanda Deglane

the passenger seat is noticeably empty

as we drive west on the I-10 in search

of water. my tia jabbers on about

how cheap it is to live here, but the rest

of us sit in sweltering silence. we know

by now that no one wants to live in hell.

my brother hears the wails of my mother’s

disintegration all the way from san jose.

he notices her gaping absence like

a limb newly ripped from his body. we patch

the wound with a butterfly bandage,

pretend like it helps at all, pretend like this

silence doesn’t already have our hearts

in its shark mouth. there’s nothing to look at

as the yellow earth moans its scorched

song. nowhere for our minds to run.

we give names to the clouds in our

boredom, ourselves faceless. the corpses

of creosote bushes wave their bone-white

arms in the wind, like they’re frantically

flagging us down for help, like one

endless cemetery. we don’t slow down

for two hundred miles, until the saguaros

bleed into weeping trees. here, the rest stops

are shrouded in more green than my eyes

can handle. here, I trace the interstate, find

wildflowers exploding out of its sides,

powder-blue like drops of bleeding sky. here,

life creeps from the edges of decades-old

cinder block, watches our dust-coated, broken

bodies with childlike curiosity. we drop to

our knees, sink into miles of jade-green

grass, gratefully give up our tears for rent

as the earth slowly swallows us

into its cool, pulsing heart.


Top photo cred: Jesse Bowser,

Wanda Deglane is a night-blooming desert flower from Arizona. She is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants and attends Arizona State University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology and family & human development. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry, L’Ephemere Review, and Former Cactus, among other lovely places. Wanda self published her first poetry book, Rainlily, in 2018.

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