Wanda Deglane, In My Defense

Wanda Deglane is a freshman at Arizona State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her poetry has been published on Spider Mirror and is forthcoming from Veronica and Porridge Magazine. She is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants and lives with her huge family in Glendale, Arizona. When she isn’t writing, she paints and spends time with her dog, Princess Leia.

The Boy From My Dreams, Part I

The Boy from my dreams approached me for the first time last night and took my hand. Dream-People are always fuzzy: I can never make out the angles of their faces, the curls in their hair. But his hand – his hand was soft and cool, his fingers fell into mine like downy feathers. He asked me, Are you a dog person or a cat person? And I pondered the question. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. I think – they both have redeeming qualities, you know? A dog, you can play with. She’ll never leave you behind. She’ll wait for you while you’re away 5 hours, 12 days, even years and years, and when you come home she’ll still say, ‘My love, is that you? My, how I’ve missed you.’ But a cat, a cat will claw at your door when he hears your sobs late at night. He’ll nestle in your arms and nuzzle against your face no matter how much you hate yourself. You’ll wake up in the morning and he’ll say, ‘You always smell so nice. I’m not so good at loving but I love you.’ The Boy started to laugh so I asked him, Well, which are you? And he didn’t even hesitate a moment before saying, I think I’m the opposite of you. I was confused. So you’re..? He laughed again. I’m a people person.

Someday I’ll Love Wanda Deglane

You don’t sleep nearly as much as you should, Wanda.
You scrape yourself off your bed in the morning
And slog aimlessly through your day.
At night, you dance around your memories,
Letting them slip through your fingers
Again and again, hoping this time they don’t
Bubble back up to the surface, stinging and hissing
And if you touch them they’ll explode like firecrackers
Right in your hand.
But picture the octagon window
You count its sides every morning before school
And on the bridge connecting the freeways,
You dream of days it’ll topple over
Sending you crumbling down to the parking lots below.
Now you’re on the staircase, colorful lights stream
Down the banisters, and the garage door closes on your mother,
A bedroom door closes on your father
And somewhere in between is a terror
You won’t let yourself speak of. Every day on that staircase,
It goes a little different. Some days, you take a step forward
And reach for the door. Today, you stand still.
Forgive yourself, Wanda, what could you have done?
Forgive your father, though his apology will never
Leave his lips, forgive him.
Now the field, the dragonflies in April.
You chase after them tirelessly,
You had much more energy then.
Now the bathroom, when you were seventeen,
Your knees against cold white tile, you can’t breathe
You should hurt but you can’t feel.
Squeezing your eyes past a tear, you beg this one to go away.
You hope that if you make yourself small, it won’t find you,
But it’s always there. Wanda, don’t shake and cry.
It won’t do you good to run, to hide, anymore,
The monsters aren’t going away, Wanda,
Don’t you understand? Make yourself big as an ocean,
Strong as the tides, and keep moving.
If you just keep moving, you’ll survive.
They’re speeding along a lot faster now,
A VCR left on fast forward.
Your mother tears at your tangled hair with a brush,
Storms on her mind,
A soccer ball goes flying at your face,
The roof of a building downtown, the stars are cold and crisp,
Your father screams,
Ladybugs crawl up your cheek.

The same rooftop, now two years later, the stars are gone,
The sun is bleak and calls you hopeless.
Fairies’ wings,
Hard caramels
And endless white pills,
A sweet black puppy licks your fingertips
And wonders where you’ve been.
Tap-dancing shoes,
A falling mirror,
Your love crying into his hands.
A red dress,
An office that smells like roses,
The same puppy thanks God you didn’t jump.
You’re cold and tired, you want to stop
But you’ve got to wait, hold on,
Until the brighter Wandas float back to you,
The ones with wide grins and freckles splashed
On their cheeks from too many days in the sun.
The ones who laugh the loudest and crave to be kissed.


There’s something about those pink evaluation forms that makes people blink and squint and become uncomfortable. Don’t be. We’ve all tried to kill ourselves once or twice, it’s best to just own up to it. But we’re shedding all that old skin [it is autumn after all].

Time is speeding up now, I’m sure of it. It was just Halloween yesterday and you can’t convince me otherwise. What do you mean the year is ending? What do you mean the days have since gotten shorter? I have to walk home in the dark now, clutching my pepper spray like a child holds their mother’s hand. I need a lifeline. This mace will have to do. I need the light to come back to me. I need peace and quiet. I need justice and blood. I don’t know what I need.

My favorite roads are the ones that don’t wind into the dark. My favorite people are the ones who don’t look at you when you walk by, in any sort of way. My favorite thoughts are the ones that come spilling out untouched and unhindered, a leak in a worn dam. My favorite homes are the ones where people talk and talk, and not just meaningless bombast, but they actually tell people shit that matters. They say things like “I’m not doing okay,” and “I’m not happy anymore” and “Somewhere deep inside, I used to love you.”

In My Defense

Listen, listen. She’s no sad-sop bitch.
She cries because you’re all dead inside,
and she thinks she’s dying, too. She’s no
dumb slut. She’s not waiting for some man
to save her – no princes, no bad boys,
no Jesus. She doesn’t wear low-cut tops
to grab your attention. Who even are you?
She wears them because she likes them
and the way they make her collar bones look,
how smooth her pale skin is, the gentle
curves of her breasts. The point is,
she’s not afraid to like herself. She’s no
dead-end joke. No laughing stock. The parts
of her that are so easy to laugh at are
the pieces of you you hope to god nobody
ever gets the chance to see. She’s no stuck-up,
puffed-up, cocky cunt. Her tongue will stop
lighting fires when you cut it right out of her
mouth, and even then her hands won’t stop moving.
She’s not here to slide past you, to stay small and
unassuming and pretend her mind is dull when
it’s sharp enough to slice your Christmas ham.
She’s no moody, self-serving whore. She’s been
shit on before, wouldn’t you know, and not
sticking around for round two. She’s not in the
business of leaving behind her own dead weight.
She’s no psycho bitch. No lazy brat.
She’s dusty footprints and accidental phone calls
you hang up quick enough that they never get the buzz.
She’s glass figurines of animals with limbs missing
from a bad tumble. She’s the sweetest party punch,
spiked with a little extra fire. She’s glaciers
not blazing but gliding smooth, not made up of
red blood, nor skin, nor bone, just ice
and time and time and time.

To read Wanda’s wonderful ‘Moon Dog’, click here.

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