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September 18, 2022


Dani Putney

We’ve found something
adjacent to love. We both can’t:
You mention your husband
in Florida, I think about my partner
in Nevada. We’ve lived long enough
to know queerness, selves entangled
in the ineffable. So we have
this, a crack in time
on a warm October evening.
So we have touch—tongues
along cheeks & necks, fingerprints
on torsos. This isn’t romance,
not a marriage, yet when you joke
about taking me with you, I craft:

It starts with a compliment
about your paisley shirt.
Fact check: It starts with me calling
your friend’s butch presence stunning.
Second fact check: It starts
when I see you smiling at the bar,
brown irises glimmering
behind black frames sat just right
on your nose, both our bodies exiled
inside Café Lafitte. I like to believe
you knew, too, when our eyes met
after I emerged from the restroom
clad in shortalls, costume earrings,
& a glow to betray my obscurity.

Autofiction: coffee with the tourists
on Decatur, legs whispering under tables,
our smiles uncontained. (Tell me
this isn’t a fabulation from a boy
who believes in fate.) I chastise myself,
wonder how I could be so foolish.
I can’t stop ruminating on my deception:
to self, to lover. Can we be twin flames
like the tarot readers say, or am I nothing
but bad, a liar disguised by their prettiness?
& truthfully? I’m scared I don’t care,
that I tremble with the ontology
of our fragmented bodies united tonight,
a possibility unstuck:

We inch toward each other
as the moon ages. You give your name,
I conjure a non sequitur. Your lips
brush mine & all I think is
thank you. We’re soon offered napkins
to toss at just the right moment.
We’re small-talking, paper dancing
in our hands. I release my grip early
& a constellation of confetti bursts
around us. I imagine stardust kissing
our ears. “Love Is in the Air” swallows
you & me, a pair of glitterballs on fire.
We can’t let go. In your arms, finally,
I touch an archive.