after “Benson James, drifter. Route 66, Gallup, NM 1979” by Richard Avedon
to drift is to be carried by current of air or water
but men are not the teeth
of their verbs
they pry nouns open with a belt buckle
to take a sip
a drifter carried by a current of air or water
makes his way from one place to another
see vagabond, see transient, see
see a man with shoulder-length hair
dollar bills fisted standing before a white screen
see his lips how still
I try to hug him
through the spine
left on the white space
his face becomes a mirror
if I stare long enough
at the camera
frees him from the page
my uncle leaps from the
From Hunger Mountain Issue 23: Silence & Power, which you can purchase here.
Art by @anna_croc01, curated by Dana Lyons.
Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Diné from the Navajo Nation and holds an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His work has appeared in Boston Review, Waxwing, and elsewhere. He is a winner of the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize. His first collection, EYES BOTTLE DARK WITH A MOUTHFUL OF FLOWERS, won the 2018 National Poetry Series and was published by Milkweed in 2019.