Red Running Into Water

Jake Skeets

tsi’naajinii nishłí
pronounce the ł as water whistling through shadow
                    on black bark
the í as boy wearing only yucca
                    lake colored

tábąąhá báshíshchíín
the í is now mouth of narrow stream
                    inside a pink mobile home with white skirting
the ą sounds like pulling hair
                    from the throat
shaped like the á

tábąąhá báshíshchíín
the á now a head busted open
                    red running into water
the í is the boy now naked
                    red running into water
tódik’ǫzhí dashinálí
boy has the ó for mouth
                    washed with memory of salt water
pronounce this á as rain cloud
                    belly up
the í still the boy floating on the lake
                    except it is a field
his mouth left ǫ
 
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.