Carter Steinmann

Desert Flood

Windows down
beating wind assaults
floods my head
disrupts collected dust on the dashboard
holes fill and
I’m underwater
on the desert highway
boots flood with sand
mouth floods with sand

lookin’ out the rearview mirror,
I am Louise—
my time is measured in
payphone calls from gas stations

I imagine Thelma in the seat next to me
applying lipstick, a merlot shade
sticking a painted finger, a crimson shade
in the cigarette lighter

pulled off the highway,
curled up in the backseat of the ford,
I lay among the cans of black beans
and bag of trailmix,

bent knees
balled up flannel under head,
susan sontag lulls me to that place
sandy and surreal

                  After being ‘femme’ to H and ‘butch’ to L,
                  I recall finding greater physical satisfaction
                  in being ‘passive,’ though emotionally
                  I am definitely the lover type, not the beloved…

I drive until the sky is that color
periwinkle dusk straight ahead,
peach sherbert in the rear view mirror

at a roadside diner
coffee clings fuzzy to my teeth
tastes of copper and charcoal
I’m knitting with butcher’s twine
and it’s making me soft again—
the waitress calls me darlin’
and I melt
to a puddle on the floor

Note: Lines in italics excerpted from Reborn: Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963 by Susan Sontag 

Carter Steinmann is a queer poet, visual artist, woodworker, and doula. She grew up in the bay area and attended Mills College where she studied gender and sexuality studies and studio art. Her first chapbook, Sticky, was recently published by Headmistress Press.