by Wanda Deglane

we are floating down a river of wind and hands.

we are gazing unblinking at the world as it whizzes by,

             lit on fire. in this autumn of illness, I am

made of goose flesh and spiraling,      half-muted

worry. head colds and fever shakes traveling down

serpentine spine. autumn is a centipede, its hundred

clock hands       crawling            and sprinting all at once.

autumn of temperatures toe-dipping    under 80 degrees.

we pull out our sweaters,           our boots, our hearts

to stitch to our sleeves. we learn to shiver and slink

at the same time.          autumn of choosing a pumpkin

the exact size and shape                        of my head, and carving

in it a pretty face. autumn of watching it rot in the shadows

of my bedroom.           of waking up to its putrid death.

autumn here is no changing leaves.     it is summer’s

long-stretched senescence, its sweat-breeding,

             slow-dripping euthanasia. but when autumn

arrives, it stomps its feet. its every word is a sucker punch.

autumn freezes the rage I thought would burn forever

within me, makes it roll useless onto its back and                      beg.

autumn of mashed potato seas and     newly broken

families. we eat meal after meal            in every splintered corner

of this home,    until our bellies are planets.      and inside

them is rare-found euthymia. sweet-toothed, rough-handed

autumn. it tries to nestle our bodies, instead    mangles our

bird wings and our jawbones. autumn of softer weather

             but intensely low expectations. campaign posters strewn

up and down south side streets,            on the lawns of sprawling

houses on central.         we whisper to ficus trees and iron

fences. we become more secretive of being human. autumn of

numb minds      and grieving bodies. autumn of cold nights

cocooned in blankets, of mornings         stretched thinner and

thinner.              autumn of waning hopes but peace beginning

to bud in some cavity rooted inside me.                           autumn of

temperatures nosediving below 50 degrees. we scream at sprinkling

rain.       we bury ourselves alive under still-green ground.

                            we have the insects to keep us warm.


Wanda Deglane is a night-blooming desert flower 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, Drunk Monkeys, and Yes Poetry, among other lovely places. Wanda is the author of Rainlily (2018), Lady Saturn (Rhythm & Bones, 2019), Honey-Laced Garbage Dreams (Ghost City Press, 2019), Venus in Bloom (Porkbelly Press, 2019), and Bittersweet (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019).