There was a time before I was engulfed,
but I can no longer remember it. Before the gray,
dense cloud ate me whole and killed the sun
with its bare, murky fists. Some days, I lie on
the pitted ground, pulling my legs up to my chest.
It’s easier to find air to breathe that way, to not
suffocate and succumb. Other days, I feel a little braver
and I walk, aimlessly, through the fog that smells of
burning gasoline and dying too young. I call out,
Hello? Is anywhere there? as loud as my scorched lungs
will allow, and now and then I hear a muffled yell,
too far away to make out, or a hand forces its way
out of the gloom, reaching for me, but then disappears.
Most days, there is nothing but crushing silence.
There was a time when I could see the world around me,
feel the sun that cradled and gave me my freckles,
see it all in vibrant colors. Now I see life in splintered,
muted pieces through the fog, passing quick in front of me
before fading out of view. There is my mother, crying in her room,
trying to grasp my cold hands while I stare at her, numb
and already perished. Here is a teacher, speaking in front of
a classroom, but his words come out garbled and obscure,
more strange sounds than lecture. There is my therapist,
trying to meet my eyes while I sink deeper and deeper into her couch
and say nothing for a whole hour. And there is my room, the mess it is,
clothes spewed all over the floor and the furniture collecting dust,
while I lie on my bed and will myself to move. Here is my father,
trapping me in a stern, stiff gaze as he tries to disentangle
the word depressed from the word lazy, from ungrateful. He cannot.
There are my friends, ignoring my frantic text messages. There is
my screaming, my breaking, my hot and cold, my shaking hands
and too-pounding pulse that feels like the start of a heart attack.
There is my nightmares, my sleepless nights, my lifeless days.
There is the future, my hopes, crumbling beneath my feet
where I can no longer see them. Here is my mind, starting
to collapse. Here is everything becoming insurmountable, impossible.
Here is everything I once loved, losing its luster. Here is feeling
in waves, feeling too much, and then not feeling at all.
Here is nothing. Here is a voice, much too far away, calling,
Where are you? We miss you so.
Come back to me.
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.
(This poem first appeared in Deracine Magazine.)