Permafrost


             I remember being marooned
up Donner Pass, my dad at the wheel,
   his howls at us to stop the snow,
      the only danger inside        a man
cannibalizing his imports: children
         & wife.


            On our way to Portland
my best friend & I spun out, doused
   in moonlight, tiny ice flakes dancing
      then dying on the windshield        what
was the forest thinking, would it let us
         die inside it.


            I almost died near Vail
three years ago, no chains, no lights,
   I willed the blizzard to kill me,
      wouldn’t it be romantic        a body
returned to their mountain father
         & never found.


            & now: I don’t want kids, but all
I can think is if I had a child I’d call them
   Tundra, or Nevada, the past participle
      of nevar        a chill that lingers, as in
how have I made it through Albuquerque,
         as in lo imposible.

 

 

 

 

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 or are forthcoming in outlets such as Foglifter, Gulf Stream Magazine, and Hairstreak Butterfly Review, while their personal essays can be found in journals such as Cold Mountain Review and Glassworks Magazine. They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women & are presently an English PhD student at Oklahoma State University. While not always (physically) there, they permanently reside in the Nevada desert.