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

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

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

Sum.
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

Lazarus

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

Dissociate

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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