eyes the green of May skies

—my first love in a desert typhoon,
Catholic boyhood dressed in cutoffs
& a wrinkled T-shirt [when we kissed
his tongue struck me like an alligator
out of place]

—I can’t give him a name, isn’t he
all of them, a Michael Bublé ballad
disguised by tousled hair & a belly
full of fur, or a schoolbus ride
where we refuse to let go

—physics was our game, unclipped
fingernails descending my back
as we summed forces unknowable
to peers, the teacher glaring at us,
this tactile language we created

—[should I say he’s married now:
the girl across the classroom always
looking back, her toothy smile, I think
she got a B & all I am is precocious,
a fire lit early]

—it was a placid Nevada day
when we destructed, because of me,
the stubble on my chin, our time
simply an assay for human sexuality,
his results conclusive

—& every summer a sliver of my heart
stings me, Tahoe’s mirrorball below,
emerald waters reflecting the gaze
I’ll never lose [here, the sky collapses
into dust]

DANI PUTNEY is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx, & neurodivergent writer originally from Sacramento, California. Their debut collection, Salamat sa Intersectionality (Okay Donkey Press, 2021), is a finalist for the 2022 Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry. Their poems appear in outlets such as Foglifter, Grist, & Hayden's Ferry Review, among others. While not always (physically) there, they reside in the Nevada desert.