You led me to a stretch of trees
a mile away from home.
We crossed a sagebrush-ridden ditch,
entered a window among the stems.
I looked at the cloistered canopy,
branches and leaves obscuring
grey sky. I repeated my parents’ slurs,
tears dropped from my cheeks
onto roots housed around our feet.
You walked me to your favorite stump,
wiped away my tears.
It’s okay, you said.
We’re in this together.
I hugged you, electric-blue hair
against my face, gauges tickling my cheek.
I felt warm in your embrace,
in the embrace of a tiny forest
caught in desert heat.
Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, Asian American poet exploring the West. Their poetry most recently appears or is forthcoming in The Blue Mountain Review, Juke Joint Magazine, and trampset, among other publications. Presently, they’re infiltrating a small conservative town in the middle of the Nevada desert.