Barely-morning pink curtains
drape an open window. Roaches scatter,

the letter t vibrating in cottonwoods.
His hair horsetail and snakeweed.

I siphon doubt from his throat
for the buffalograss.

Seep willow antler press against
the memory of the first man I saw naked.

His tongue a mosquito whispering
its name a hymn on mesquite,

my cheek. The things we see the other do
collapse words into yucca bone.

The Navajo word for eye
hardens into the word for war.

Copyright © 2019 by Jake Skeets. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 12, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

I can laugh now.
Have you not heard my laughter?
It leads the winds:
They come tumbling and bubbling after.

I have learned to laugh.
I have learned to laugh with my spirit
And with my soul.
Listen. Do you not hear it?

I shall quench the world.
I shall sear the stars with my laughter;
Shrivel the moon and the sun
And make new ones after.

For life’s skeleton
I shall make flesh from desires;
Then of my mounting laughter
Build it a temple with mocking spires.

I shall laugh to heaven.
I shall laugh below hell and above.
I shall laugh forever.
It was laughter God died of.

From On a Grey Thread (Will Ransom, 1923) by Elsa Gidlow. This poem is in the public domain.