an abecedarian after Adrienne Novy an aerial view of jewel-throated gardens and / baby’s breath bent into a dainty wreath / crowded arena and lacy tights / downing the last of my smirnoff ice and dancing like Tina Belcher / Emily presses her forehead against mine, makes a / funny face until we both break into / giggles, and don’t you know how much I / hate to be smothered, hate to be left alone / “Ivy” by Frank Ocean the whole way to yours / just like in high school, singing, We’ll never be those / kids again, Hanna’s face / luminescent under blazing purples and / magentas and I swear I / never knew what that feeling was, I just want it back. the cosmic girl said my aura is soft, peachy / orange, but it splutters like bad connection / pops in and out of place like strange bone, and if I waited for the world to finally be / quiet, I’d die waiting with moss blanketing all my major organs / repentant, remorseful, I run until my lungs split / scraped palms and a mouth full of dirt / tides of nectar, all strawberry-stained, my hands / unearthing baby snails in the backyard, and what can I say? I love pretty things and / vanishing into thin air and / wasting away all my gifted child potential / Xavier strokes all the self-hatred from my hair / yesterday’s foot is still on my throat, but I dig it a fresh new grave, adorn it with / zinnias.
issue three / reverie
birth of a poetess
Sappho, I must tell you my story. Let me set the scene: I was 16 and naive and buried in seashells of my own making. I knew that there were men who loved men and women who loved women. I just didn’t think it was something I could be. I saw Moonlight with my parents and my father seethed, That was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. I always thought I only had room in my heart for boys. All my love for girls was birthed in secret, was drowned in its sleep in my bathtub. I didn’t know what it was, I just knew there was something deeply, horribly wrong with me. I just knew I couldn’t stare it in the face. I was 16 and every boy I had ever loved was unbearably cruel. My heart in a sling, My eyes eclipsed by emeralds and ink-black obsidian. Then I saw her playing guitar sitting in grass lush as velvet. Sappho, I saw a girl and said to myself, Oh fuck. I’m ruined. Her eyes like stars trapped in honeyed amber. Her hair is softness, her silken skin blessed by the moon. Sappho, I think I died when I met her. I think I woke up in a new body, one pulverized by yearning. I want to lay in her lap while she reads to me of poetesses and philosophers. I want to lick the salt off her lips. I want to write songs laced with violets in her honor. O Sappho, the tenth muse, the human embodiment of longing, I can ignore my heart no longer. She smiles at me and it rips me in two. She speaks my name and I awake woozy and confused days later. My body bewitched by sunlight. Is this what you felt when you flew from those cliffs? I think she could pull the dead bird from my throat. I think I could kiss her eyelashes in hell.
Wanda Deglane is a poet and therapist from Glendale, Arizona. She is the author of Melancholia (VA Press, 2021) and other books.