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Jake Skeets

Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Waters Edge. Diné from Vanderwagen, New Mexico, he holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His debut collection, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers (Milkweed, 2019), was selected by Kathy Fagan for the 2018 National Poetry Series. Winner of the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest, an American Book Award, and a 2020 Whiting Award, Skeets teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona, located in the Navajo Nation. 

By This Poet



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.