LOVE AFTER THE STORM by Wanda Deglane

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When you kiss me, is it you there? Are you in

your body, or somewhere a thousand miles away?

You start your sentences with “maybe if I…” 

“Maybe if I went home instead. Maybe if I did 

as I was told.” I see the maybe’s get buried somewhere

deep where you can’t claw them back out, burrowing

holes that bleed and fester. I fear for you, for your life.

You say the last time you felt this empty, you had a gun

pressed to your temple. You have one foot stuck in yesterday,

in chests stuffed to the brim with toys at seven and your sister’s

pink-rimmed glasses, but there’s glimpses of you already

going through the motions tomorrow, among gray walls

and rot and flood and then nothing. I watch your eyes

when you speak of the memories and follow them

all the way back. Find the place where you stumbled

unnoticed and peel back the door you built in your hazy sleep.

I look for the last place you left you. I know I’ve found it

when your skin is once again honey sweet and the tears flow

straight to your mouth. And we cry all the way home,

and through the night. We carve out new paths for emotions

we never thought we’d feel again. We reinvent love after the storm,

find new bones to wear that ache a little less, new dips

in your face I never thought to notice. You hold me so tight

my skin melts away like cotton candy, fresh on your tongue

in the middle of summer. One season fades and another

wakes stretching. One day passes over and another replaces it,

new and shiny and spilling over with hope. And you say in my ear

I love you I love you I love you like a reawakened secret,

like my favorite song on the radio after a decade of silence.

Yesterday bows its head and lets us go, unscathed.


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.

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