photography by Concetta Rotilio
Self-Portrait As Axolotl
Though I claw at my own skin with sharp claws,
level it like forests at the dawn of civilization,
I lie still and watch as the blood dams, the red
pales, the angry words carved into my flesh
soften and calm to whispers. For all the abuse
my skin has known, it grows back to me in
a jubilee of love, new and raw and pink,
the veins still pulsing beneath it. And when
they slice off pieces of my heart, tear into it
with bare, soiled hands to see what it’s made of,
it builds up like elastic, robbed and stretched
and burnt but coming back as if untouched.
And when I leave behind my limbs in cities where
they battered me endlessly, with the people who saw
my body not as a home but a dumping grounds,
I leave bruised, grieving, but always, always whole.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wanda Deglane is a psychology/family & human development student at Arizona State University. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming on Dodging the Rain, Rust + Moth, Anti-Heroin Chic, and elsewhere. She writes to survive. Wanda is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants, and lives with her giant family and beloved dog, Princess Leia, in Glendale, Arizona.