Poetry by Dani Putney
The baby-blue fabric of his dress shirt reaches past my waist. I feel like a child in his hotel room. He’s in the shower, door slightly cracked, steam escaping. He’s singing AC/DC, I think “Thunderstruck.” Rock these days ain’t like the classics, he told me last night. I walk to the kitchen — I’ve never been in a hotel room with a kitchen. I grab the carton of eggs he bought us, remembering, I always love an omelet the morning after. They’re brown, I think they’re supposed to be healthier. They remind me of his face: crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles. I crack an egg on the edge of a skillet, move to turn on the stove — somebody’s holding my waist. Hey, he whispers, his tongue sliding down my neck. My hands relax, I ease into his kiss. I smell his Irish Spring body wash: All men must smell like this. It’s like he’s tucking me in. But I stop. We don’t have time. Your wife. I push his hands off. He pouts, returns to the bathroom. I turn on the stove, cook his egg.
Author’s Note: The below poem, “Nevada,” appears in the first section, “Youthful Absolution,” of Salamat sa Intersectionality, Dani Putney’s debut full-length poetry collection from Okay Donkey Press (May 2021). “Youthful Absolution” follows the collection’s central speaker throughout their childhood and adolescence, including key moments of identity formation, such as clashes with their parents. “Nevada,” specifically, establishes the speaker’s half–home state, an environment that serves not only as a backdrop to their life but also as a catalyst for their self-growth.
A mustang was shot again,
northward where the desert glows,
mountain dreams flowing along the highway.
Guts decorate a thirsty earth,
flies battling, It’s my flesh, mine.
If a horse is euthanized,
piled into a heap of horses,
does the energy recycle itself?
Blood can’t beget nothingness,
can’t re-create a wasteland
of diseased sand and Bureau of Land
Management conquerors whose bullets
carry the end. Sagebrush grows
where bones sink.