Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Reservation

How do you
sweep a dirt floor?
How do you describe
the blue face of death
to a spirit you will
someday dance with?
First, a dirt floor
cannot be dirty.
Second, her face was
more green than blue,
the color of malachite
or a crumpled dollar
bill in a wino's hand.
We lived so red
in the corpse blue
shadow of turquoise.


From Logorrhea by Adrian C. Louis. Copyright © 2007 by Adrian C. Louis. Published 2007 by TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press. Used with permission.


Adrian C. Louis

An enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Tribe, Adrian C. Louis was born and raised in northern Nevada. He received a BA and an MA in creative writing from Brown University.

Louis published numerous poetry collections, including Electric Snakes (Backwaters Press, 2018); Random Exorcisms (Pleiades Press, 2016); Savage Sunsets (West End Press, 2012); Logorrhea (Triquarterly Books, 2006), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and The Indian Cheap Wine Séance (Gray Flannel Press, 1974). He also published two works of fiction, including the novel Skins (Crown Publishers, 1995).

Of his work, the poet Hayden Carruth writes, “He is truly a voice in the wilderness. Prophetic, terrifyingly intelligent, unconditionally germane. Anyone who overlooks him does so in peril.” Paisley Rekdal writes, “Adrian C. Louis is fearless and unrepentant. He’s a poet who takes no prisoners and suffers no fools.”

Louis received fellowships from the Bush Foundation, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. taught at Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota from 1984 to 1997 and at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota, from 1999 to 2014. He died in Marshall, Minnesota, on September 9, 2018.

Date Published: 2007-01-01

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