THREE POEMS by WANDA DEGLANE
[content warning: sexual violence]
Our bodies are money.
My mother, she drives recklessly. She says,
like a whirlwind of fire, If he does that again, I’ll leave him
so fast. I won’t even hesitate. You know that right?
On another night, I find her weeping in a bedroom that isn’t hers,
her hands quaking as she tries to pour herself a drink. Sometimes,
she says, a woman’s got to do things she doesn’t like to please her man.
To make him stay.
My body is currency. I pay it to you in exchange for some pale, cursed semblance
of love and respect. Don’t say no, you say, but my mouth is covered anyway,
and you scoop out my insides like a rotting pumpkin to leave on the curb.
My pussy for your shoulder to cry on.
Your orgasm for this hollowed out shell of a body, this life of withering excuses,
this perpetual game where I’ll always come out losing no matter how I play.
Our bodies are wasted, anyway.
Impurified. Worthless. We are sluts for spreading our legs, but they say
it’s the only thing we have to offer. They say, No one will love you
for that smart mouth. Lie back. Let him take what he needs.
But I’ll open my smart mouth. I’ll fight back with my mighty woman hands,
make you ashamed you ever tried to befoul my beautiful woman skin. I’ll scream
with all the power in my lungs, tell you the word no until you finally learn its meaning.
This time, we won’t lose. This time, we’re not paying.
I want to listen to this song. I want to hear every word of this fucking song and let them soak into my brain and become a piece of me and then replay it over and over until I finally understand what it is trying to tell me. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to fucking hear about my father’s day and all the things he still has to do, he’s so busy, and that one lady he knew who died and how he’s now thinking life is short and he says, ten cuidado hijita, but I’m not even hearing him I’m hearing the words of this song.
I don’t want the questions that can’t stop coming, disingenuous and only sometimes well-intentioned from shitty friends and family I wouldn’t care about if they weren’t family: Are you okay? Why are you so angry all the time? Are you on the rag? What is it? What the hell is it, this time? I’m tired of the questions, of the talk. Maybe anger is just my default emotion, maybe rage is the only way I know I'm alive. Maybe I want to listen to this song over and over for weeks on end so the words can choke out the thoughts I never wanted.
But over the song, with their own rhythm and tune, the thoughts come anyway.
Oh my god I’m just like my mother. Oh my god my kids are going to be so fucking miserable. Oh my god it’s so hot but so cold and I want to scream and cry and hit oh god oh god. Oh god my life could make a poignantly sad and entertainingly dramatic telenovela and I’ve never felt so fucking pathetic. Oh god I am my own worst advocate. Oh my god when a boy says, I want to fuck you, I don’t say, Yes! I say instead, okay, and then I lie back and take it, empty and motionless like a corpse. I never know what I want because as soon as someone else says what they want, I say what they want to hear, I live as they want me to be, oh my god oh my god. Oh god I am dying so painfully slowly it’ll likely take another 80 years. Oh my god I can’t even feel god anymore. Oh my god I am my own arch nemesis- at the heart of every reason for my lifelong misery, there I am.
when you’re lying back flat against the bathtub,
everything but your face submerged:
say you’re drifting away in the middle of the ocean.
say the roaring wind outside your window
is carrying you away to some elysium,
and the icebergs of foamy soap glide by you
happily. say you’re going somewhere you can’t know--
you have no control but you don’t need it anymore.
say the sea isn’t such a dangerous place. say
you’ll never drown, you’ll keep floating
‘til the very ends of the earth. say even there,
you’ll find your purpose-- your mortality withered away
by storms in the blue your mind dead set on that somewhere.
say a polar bear mother of two
finds your body at her front door, thousands of miles away
and makes of you the salvation of a dying species.
Wanda Deglane is a psychology/family & human development student at Arizona State University. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming on Dodging the Rain, Rust + Moth, Anti-Heroin Chic, and elsewhere. Wanda is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants, and lives with her giant family and beloved dog, Princess Leia, in Glendale, Arizona. She tweets @wandalizabeth.