GOOD NIGHT by Wanda Deglane

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My father enters my room at 12 AM to wish me good night.

It seems ages have passed since he would scour

my bedroom with his eyes, searching for mess,

for something to scream at me for. Now he asks endless

questions. This depression thing- it’s not over is it?

Well why are you still depressed? I can’t answer him

anymore, there’s no way to explain. My father sees

the things in his world as mere tasks he has to complete,

and he still cannot fathom why this seemingly childish task

has not yet been checked off of his to-do list. But I can

almost see the gears of his mind working, trying to understand.

Have you been eating enough? Breakfast, lunch, and dinner? 

How has your sleep been? What helps you sleep better? 

He goes through his checklist, and I give him the same answers

as always, but then he says, You can call me anytime, if you ever 

needed anything at all. I’d drop everything to do what I can, 

you know that right? I just wish you would call. His eyes cloud over

with sincerity, sadness, remorse. Some people never learned how to say,

I love you. I’m sorry. You mean the world to me. but they speak it

through hidden words you have to learn to decode. They say,

Have you been eating enough? and How has your sleep been?

They wait for your phone call during the weekdays and come home

late, their back crumbling from work. They stand outside your door,

rehearsing what to say to you, knowing inevitably they’ll come up short,

but they try and try anyway. They come into your room

every single night, signing the cross over la virgen and saying good night.

When my father leaves, closing the door behind him, I lie awake

in the pitch black confusion and wonder at how strange it is

that humans wish one another good night in the first place: how we hope

their dreams are slices of fruitful happiness they can cling tight to,

how we are so unwilling to part with the ones we love for even just

those few hours, we had to invent a whole new way of saying goodbye.

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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