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.