by Dani Putney
You walked in with a vodka
cream soda, a concoction
you gave me to sip.
What do you think?
as if you didn’t expect me
to say it was strange yet
appealing, as if my thought
wasn’t manufactured to be
a gear in your cerebral machinery.
Tell me, old man, that we’re not
the same. Maybe then I could believe
I didn’t also perform intelligence
over American Spirits & Pinot
Grigio—have you heard
of Thomas James?—that my inter-
jections of Dickinsonian history
weren’t a blight on the group
discourse, as I imagine
you call it. A frisson
down my spine reminded me
we were never alike, not
in your Upstate New York
bourgeois carapace of a child-
hood, nor in your body—big
& white, a man’s man—that will
never feel the sting of less than.
If I touch your arm, can you feel
my bite marks? My story is graded
by scar count & the tablespoons
of fairy dust I use to cauterize
my wounds. Brown twinkbois must
protect ourselves, our precious
flesh, devoured by your kind,
old man. In two decades I’ll arrive
at your midlife juncture, where you
realized you deserved a spot
at my friends’ table, & I’ll thank
anything other than God
that it was never possible
for me to become you.
Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx poet originally from Sacramento, California. Their debut full-length poetry collection, Salamat sa Intersectionality, is forthcoming from Okay Donkey Press in May 2021. You can find Dani’s poetry in Cosmonauts Avenue, LandLocked, and Rappahannock Review, among other publications.
Alice Stone-Collins is an artist living in Atlanta, GA where she is a faculty member at Georgia Gwinnett College. Alice’s intricate hand-painted collaged pieces ask questions of tradition and to the ties that bind. Her work highlights the tensions between the mundane, the everyday, and the apparent dead.