Indian Eden. Open tooth. Bone Bruise. This town split in two. 
Clocks ring out as train horns, each hour hand drags into a screech – 
iron, steel, iron. The minute hand runs its fingers
                                                                                                            through the outcrops.

Drunktown. Drunk is the punch. Town a gasp. 
In between the letters are boots crushing tumbleweeds, 
                                                            a tractor tire backing over a man’s skull.


Men around here only touch when they fuck in a backseat
                                    go for the foul with thirty seconds left 
                                      hug their son after high school graduation
                              open a keg
                        stab my uncle forty seven times behind a liquor store


A bar called Eddie’s sits at the end of the world. By the tracks,
drunk men get some sleep. My father’s uncle tries to get some
under a long bed truck. The truck backs up to go home.

I arrange my father’s boarding school soap bones on white space
and call it a poem. Like my father, I come up on death 
staggering into the house with beer on the breath. 


Mule deer splintered in barbed tendon. Gray highway
veins narrow – push, pull under teal and red hills.
A man is drunk staggering into northbound lanes,
dollar bills for his index and ring fingers. Sands glitter
with broken bottles – greens, deep blues, clears, and golds.
This place is White Cone, Greasewood, Sanders, 
White Water, Breadsprings, Crystal, Chinle, Nazlini,
Indian Wells, and all muddy roads lead from Gallup.
The sky places an arm on the near hills.
On the shoulder, dark gray almost blue bleeds

into greens

                                                                        blue greens

turquoise into hazy blue

                                                            pure blue

no gray or gold

                                    or oil black seeped through.


If I stare long enough, I see my uncle in a mirror. The bottle caps we use for eyes. 


an owl has a skeleton of three letters
                        o twists into l

                                                the burrowing owl burrows
                                    under dead cactus 

            feathers fall on horseweed

Originally published in Spilled Milk Magazine, issue 82018. Copyright © 2018 by Jake Skeets. Used with the permission of the poet.