brown and white concession trailer showing clear glass window

Three poems by Dani Putney

Content warning: Mental disability/suicidality in “Dissociate”

Stuck in Primordial Soup

I wake up, put on a body:
Business Formal Male,
bowtie     cufflinks     Oxfords.
I look in the mirror,
see another Lacan.

a body abused by the elements
—capital and capital and capital—
the linear function of time,
O normative worker, O perpetual commute.

I want to exchange this body,
take out flesh from my closet.
Years of evolution
but sweat under fat rolls
smells of     apocalypse.

brown wooden frame with two brown coat hangers


I follow him
to Mama’s abandoned trailer.
American Gothic shudders,
jeans wane like sky
excavated from sunflower soil.

We arrive among weeds.
He teeters
before shifting boots,
rubbing tan-orange arms
bedecked with freckles.

On a dusty futon
his eyes gut me:
a boy wilting
again. I remember
all the women.

He unbuckles, eases
off denim. Boxer briefs
fray slightly, a speck of
urine rests on cotton.
Breathe in.

brown and white concession trailer showing clear glass window


If I close my eyes on the highway
for five seconds,
my body evaporates.
I float above blacktop
as an observer of clockwork:
beast to metallic beast.

I witness a grid
of commuters and lovers
and travelers and murderers,
each individual patched
onto the unearthly mass
of I-80 west.

My spirit drifts farther away,
a ghost of a ghost.
My former body and car careen
into the highway-side river.
Before metal meets water—


About the author

Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, Asian American poet exploring the West. They’re often lost in the kaleidoscope of their intersectional identity. Most recently, their poetry appears or is forthcoming in Helen, Noble / Gas Qtrly, Transcend, and Vamp Cat Magazine, among other publications. Presently, they’re infiltrating a small conservative town in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Image credits: Cover photo by Isaac Moore on Unsplash. Second photo by riffaay Firmansyah on Unsplash.

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