As I take the highest dose of Pick-
Me-Ups, I think of a gold-topped
LEGO crate. Where did the bricks
go? I hear egodystonic but see
Whispers in the mirror. 4 walls
descending, liar, liar, liar
at the edge of memory. I don’t know
when it began. I wonder 10 times
whether ponderosa will sit
at my grave. There’s a castle
in the distance: tallest spires left.
Fourth grade, my body in reverse.
I’m a particular coup de grâce:
Whispers blows Latin morphemes
in my ear, DSM counting down
the scoliosis of memories
& oropharyngeal tumors of 100-
milligram day sweats. Ponderosa
in my castle garden, LEGOs up
4-ego walls: pedophile, hetero-
sexual, brother fucker, liar.
Fourth-grade holding patterns
16 times divined to burn AIDS
in my belly. I bind my ribs in gold
to collapse a ghostwritten chest,
can anybody see the holes:
I’m a reanimated graveyard in need
of dynamite. I ask Whispers whether
gray matter melts into gold but hear
my uncle’s diagnosis for a particular
ego (reversed). I pray for dystopia:
I won’t die from the kidney bacteria
I seduced in fourth grade.
There are no brothers or children
in my ponderosa castle, LEGOs
descending left along spire walls.
4 times 10 eventually amounts
to 16 pills dissolved into 100
coup de grâces. Pick up, DSM—
Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx, & neurodivergent writer originally from Sacramento, California. Their debut full-length collection, Salamat sa Intersectionality (Okay Donkey Press, 2021), was a finalist for the 2022 Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry. They’re also the author of the poetry chapbook Dela Torre (Sundress Publications, 2022). They live in the middle of the Nevada desert.