Two Poems by Dani Putney


You’ll break the lamp
on your desk, use the shards
to stab your cubicle mate.
Please, they beg, stop.

So you move the lamp
to the corner of your desk.
A colleague will pass,
you’ll slam their face
into the lamp, glass
on purple lips, what a mess.

So you bury the lamp
under your desk, nobody
can see it. You’ll unscrew
the bulb, thumb your way
to the filament, rub the ready-
made shark’s mouth along
your leg. What’s that crackling
sound? the office will ask
as blood stains hidden carpet.

So you smash the lamp
in the parking lot, fragments
airborne like sand in media res.
No more lamp,
unless you buy another
on sale at Target,
put it on your desk tomorrow.
What a pretty lamp,
a coworker will say.


Cybernetic Impromptu

Call me Chopin,
these hands span octaves.
Not my own, or are they,
now attached to wrists
diameter of Neverland bracelets,
Pan style, maybe it’s arrested
development. Little finger to thumb,
I count ten, they say men comfortably
reach nine, am I man now,
I promise I’ll care for these electric

digits. Youth for grace
notes, knuckle hair for steel
bones. No, they use titanium
now, prosthesis equals feather
weights & long games, body growth
tangled with gravity. Chopin’s heart
knew tension well, I his hands—mine
one to ten. I must be boy made into
man, I must be an-      droid,
I must be.

Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, Asian American poet exploring the West. Their work most recently appears or is forthcoming in Cold Mountain Review, Ghost City Review, and The Matador Review, among other publications. Presently, they’re infiltrating a small conservative town in the middle of the Nevada desert.