Poetry: 2 Poems by Wanda Deglane
He says, I hear Alaska’s nice this time of year.
His fingers trace absent-minded circles around and around the flesh under my skirt.
He says, I’m going to marry you someday, watch,
as he looks at me hungrily, dark-lit coals for eyes.
He says, Weakness is what kills you, sweetie.
Kindness, honesty, caring, having those morals and shit. All weaknesses.
He eyes me carefully from the balcony. Says,
I didn’t mean to grab your throat, and let my fingers curl around it. You wouldn’t call me a liar,
He says, If you look at another guy again,
I’ll rip your throat out.
I learn to use makeup at nearly fifteen, the morning after. Covering up the night before.
Drawing thick black lines across my eyelids to look as if I hadn’t been punched in the face.
He says, If there were more of you, I’d take that, too.
He says, Your weakness feeds me.
And I’m still hungry.
He says, I am the sun.
You’ll never see anything else.
He says, We’re going to be high school sweethearts,
Don’t you just love that?
He says, How would you like to go with me to Alaska?
How to Take Your Lexapro
(When You Never Learned How to Swallow Pills)
Go to your nearest pharmacy.
Realize that your liquid antidepressants are
going to cost you over $200 because your insurance
doesn’t cover those kinds of shenanigans.
Settle for the small white tablets instead.
Decide, I am too old for this childish bullshit,
and attempt to swallow them.
Remember all the advice you’ve been given over the years,
like, “Just pretend it’s not even there,” and,
“You’ve swallowed morsels of food much larger than those
tiny pills!” Channel them into your mind.
Put the thing on your tongue and take a huge swig of water.
Chastise yourself when it gets stuck on the roof
of your mouth and won’t go down.
Give in and chew the awful thing.
Nearly vomit as your senses are flooded by the bitter taste.
Convince your body not to shut down and reach for
a cookie, a chip, anything to rid yourself of the horrible flavor.
Hate yourself for having just done that.
The next time you have to take your lexapro,
crush it down to a white powder and put it in
your yogurt, in your drink, in your food,
hoping that the surrounding flavors might
somehow hinder the taste.
Fail miserably as you have now ruined your entire meal,
and the bitterness hangs around to taunt you.
Hate yourself for having to live this way.
Hate your brain for not making enough serotonin.
because you feel like crying over a silly little pill.
Cry and wish you were somebody normal that didn’t have
to worry about shit like this, who could go about life
coping healthily and being a happy, functional human being.
Try, one last time, to swallow your lexapro.
Take a deep breath, from way down inside you. Take a large sip
and try with all your might to make it go down.
It won’t, so convince yourself that maybe your brain
is trying to tell you I’ve had enough serotonin, come again later.
Try to tell yourself that you don’t need it anymore.
Ignore your little white pills where they sit in
the little container you got at Wal-Mart as a reminder
to take them everyday, without fail.
Prepare yourself as the buzzes come: the little zaps and twitches
in your brain that nearly incapacitate you with every inch you move.
Feel the tips of your fingers go numb and tingly.
Breathe in really deep, and let it out slowly.
You don’t need it anymore.
Lay down slowly, try to stop the buzzing, and remind yourself
of the bleak day in December, walking along the winding sidewalk
alone, telling every concerned adult who sees you that you’re okay,
deciding that at this moment and place in time, you want to die.
The stillness of the air as you stare over the edge of that building
downtown, thinking of your body, crumpled all those stories below,
and how your mother would cry.
Your mother, placing the pills in your hand with the most tired, sad eyes,
saying, “I don’t like this either, but I just want you to get better.
Please, God, just make my baby better.”
Sob when you realize that a day of carelessness, of giving up,
could destroy years of progress.
Take the pill in your hand and wipe away your dumb tears.
Place your lexapro on your tongue again,
and swallow it whole, dry, without even trying.
Lay back down again, and fall asleep.
Repeat again tomorrow.
And all the tomorrows after that.