Wanda Deglane

Springtime Dreaming

I dream I am at the movies.
sitting in darkness, surrounded
by a sea of faces I recognize,
all smiling, waiting, shoveling popcorn
into their mouths with curled fingers
and hush now the movie is starting.

                  the screen comes on with a whirring
                  sound, a scene fades into view: Phoenix
                  at the birth of spring, too early yet
                  to shake the cold off its shoulders.
                  we’re narrowing in now- light tan tile,
                  cold and wet. a toilet gaping
                  with its mouth of hell. the song of a piano,
                  lonely and melancholy, not too far away.
                  and a girl, thin and sallow, the purple
                  blooming beneath her eyes like flowers.

                                    she is me. i glance around the theater-
                                    maybe they’ve noticed- but i am met
                                    only with the crunching of popcorn,
                                    pale curiosity glinting in their eyes.
                                    i look back at the screen.

                  there is a boy. i know him too.
                  he unbuckles his belt. makes her kneel.
                  i know this scene. i know how, in an instant,
                  he reduces her from a person to a pile
                  of rotting flesh and bone, a gaping hole.
                  another worthless thing he owned.
                  she shakes her head, her mouth says no,
                  over and over, so he fills it with something else.
                  my heart slams like fists. the air can’t find its
                  way to my lungs. i am trying to stand, 
                  trying to say, stop the movie. make it stop,
                  but i am drowned by the hundreds of voices
                  around me, now laughing.

she’s on the toilet now. his fingers
dig into her hips like scorpion stingers.
her shorts are gone. her mind is gone.
her body, frozen. she’s scratching for her voice, 
scouring. her memory splinters into
thousands of pieces. the world around her
melts away, oozing like lava that takes
her skin with it as it goes. I am crying,
flailing, make it stop make him stop.
and they’re roaring now in demonic cackles.
        
                        the scene changes: days after,
                        or maybe months before. she doesn’t
                        know. she presses the blue-green bruises,
                        tries to squeeze out the venom. she
                       plucks the scabs from her skin
                       like flower petals. he loves me. 
         
              he loves me not.
                
                                               now we’re in her bedroom.
                                               she is folded, crumpled, her eyes dull
                                               and nowhere. her mother is in the doorway, 
                                                choking on sobs. her father is thundering
                                               like a monsoon. you fucking slut. you’re a
                 
                              fucking slut. no one will love you
             
                                  if you give yourself away
               
                                like a whore. she stares at her lap.
                                               she can’t meet his eyes, so he punches,
                                               the rage and shame of a hundred generations
                                               inside him. I’m screaming no god no no
             
                                  please god no
        
                       how many times? he asks her.
                       how many times did you do it

I don’t know, I don’t know
    
                       and he’s hailing blows now,
                       pelting her face. tell me, 
       
                how many times?
        
                                                I don’t know, please, I swear to god
                 
                              I don’t know
        

                       he hits, over and over and over.

HOW MANY TIMES

                        HOW MANY TIMES
                
                                                  HOW MANY TIMES

                       I’m howling now, tearing my flesh
                        and hair apart. I’m begging for mercy.
                       I’m digging my thumbs into my eyes,
                        wailing as the laughter around me
                        grows deafening.

HOW MANY TIMES
TELL ME. 
TELL ME.

        
                        her vision bursts and fizzles out.
                        she’s seeing stars. 

                                                she makes up a number
                                                and begs to die.


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, The Wire’s Dream Magazine, L’Ephemere Review, and Former Cactus, among other lovely places.