you must know by now:
to love yourself is to be perpetually angry,
to dismantle everything & anything
you’ve ever seen & learned & been
in every past life,
feed those pieces to the manta rays watch
them float to heaven.
rebuild every limb & every
organ into hedera-drowned cities, into lakes pulsing sweet
with honeyed milk.
to love yourself is to bury old car fires
in a mouthful of dirt, hold grief close
like a lover, let her sing but never stay the night.
loving yourself is not a becoming,
but a physical swelling. you’ll say:
look at me, I’m colossal. I’m a universe.
I’m fucking exquisite.
& everyone you know will have to tip their heads back
to see your face, glowing & soaring &
sipping stratosphere, & they will tremble.
to love yourself is to kiss past mistakes with tongue.
to absorb silver-lined self-compassion
in every pore.
you may be eating your own tail, but you chew slowly.
you savor it.
after Haley Hendrick
girl with the elastic band heart, stretched to breaking but never mangled
girl with the bruised fruit skin, oozing honeyed juice at every bump
girl with the dust storm hair, the angry brown, whipping fury
girl with the blister-kissed, candle-lit fingertips
girl with the shallow water lungs, all choir song and cemetery
girl with the parrot nose, hummingbirds digging holes in her scalp
girl with the robin’s egg eyes, the you’re too pretty to cry eyes
girl with the dagger-ribs, the spaces like black holes in between
girl with the soft, kerosene-spilled bones
girl with the gas station light brain, humming and hiccuping endlessly
girl with cassiopeia traced in her freckles, in her scars
girl with shuddered inhale, with anxious, scratch-torn flesh
girl with the extinguished, scream-sore tongue
girl with every dinosaur breath, every whale kiss in her cells
girl with the nightly lamentations, the too-familiar taste of her own tears,
but with the legs the don’t stop moving, the resolve that trudges
on and on and on.
Wanda Deglane is a capricorn 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, L’Ephemere Review, and Former Cactus, among other lovely places. Wanda is the author of Rainlily (2018), Lady Saturn (Rhythm & Bones, 2019), Venus in Bloom (Porkbelly Press, 2019), and Sugar Weather (Vessel Press, 2020).