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, unsplash.com
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.