Conversation with My Father
I am filling a father-shaped void with
the sound of your long-awaited silence.
I am filling it with men who could never
hope to be what I need. a soothing voice
on the radio. a charming man on TV.
a cloudy face in a dream. the fact that
I’ll never meet any of these people
already make them infinitely better at this
than you. the blame falls on yesterday
for today’s splintered agony. you’re
blindfolded, swinging wildly like we’re
grief-spilling piñatas, rather groom the faces
you’ve beaten than just say forgive me.
take a look at what you’ve been missing:
here is the cemetery our backyard
has become. the grave where I’ve buried
my own name. the gap on my tongue
where the word dadused to live.
here is the swell and fall of your wife
like sea tide. the shaky fingers with
which she stitched her own wounds.
here is the swallowed fury of your son,
and the holes it burnt into all his organs
like dropped cigarette. here he is lying
unresponsive. here is the beast taking
shape in your youngest daughter, surviving
planted in her heart longer than you and I.
storms and bitter poison, childhood friends
lost in a wailing cyclone. unspeakable pain
we can’t begin to fathom. here is a house
caving in on its weariness, the walls sighing
in relief as they crush us flat. here is
the sleeping avalanche you keep poking. here is
the pistol you hide in the darkest corner of
your closet, underneath heaps of dusty
wedding clothes and dreams giving in to
disappointment. here is its comfortable smooth
in my palm, the fact that I’ve known where
it’s been for years. here is the fact that the next time
your hands raise, I won’t fucking hesitate.
are you listening now? have I got your attention?
I’m screaming in your face, blustering and
uninterrupted, and this time, you’re going to listen
to every pockmarked, raw-skinned syllable.
how will I stomach all this?
what will become of our bruising?
look at everything you’ve done.
look at what you’ve made us into.
Wanda Deglane (she/her) is a Capricorn from Arizona. She is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants and attends Arizona State University. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry, L’Ephemere Review, and Former Cactus, among other lovely places. Wanda is the author of Rainlily (2018), Lady Saturn (Rhythm & Bones, 2019), and Venus in Bloom (Porkbelly Press, 2019).