IF THEY EQUALS YOU

When I die,
I know they won’t
call me by my name.
They’ll use a legal designation
with athird person I outgrew.
Can I mourn my inevitable erasure?
Or rather: Don’t tell me
……..death is any sweeter.
There can’t be release
if my fascia was neverconnected
to their social organism,
……..a multicellular façade.
But I knew that—
…………….absence isn’terasable.
Every part of a cell is important,
down to thespacein between.
I should ask:
What do I feel
when I’m nothing to mourn,
……when my cells don’t contain
……the interstitial jelly called presence?
(I can’t capitalize my presence
……………..if it doesn’t exist.)
He was loved, they’ll say.

SCAR

is my favorite Disney villain:
a matriarch in his step,
moths netted in his voice box.
Stare into those corrosive
irises, half-shuttered as in high,
it’s like killing Father has
psychoactive properties.
I’ve always seen myself
in his daddy’s blood—or,
I knew I was evil
well before kids called me
fag. Disney’s message

received. If villainy were simple,
I’d peel off my face,
its schadenfreude thrills smelly
with rot—the king is dead,
long live the charming
court jester. But simple
doesn’t mean beautiful,
as in the angularity
of Scar’s mane, the soft
masculinity of his undulating
torso: pieces of my lion
body. Evil is in style,

so call me a killer.

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Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx, and neurodivergent writer originally from Sacramento, California. Salamat sa Intersectionality (Okay Donkey Press, May 2021) is their debut full-length poetry collection. Their poems appear in outlets such as Empty Mirror, Ghost City Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Juke Joint Magazine, and trampset, among others, while their personal essays can be found in journals such as Cold Mountain Review and Glassworks Magazine, among others. They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women. While not always (physically) there, they permanently reside in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Photo credit: Ashley Elizabeth Hewitt