FOR ANDREW by Jackson Holbert

/ / Issue 14

When it was too hot
to smoke cigarettes we drowned

ants in gasoline
until they curled. Upstream,

in a trailer, your mother, drunk
on hand sanitizer cut with water,

called each kid
for pasta.

It’s April. You are dying
among the poplars

among blueberry fields and farmhands
beating chickens with pipes.

When we travel
the dead travel too.

That is the law
and the law is full of dreams.

The news says
wildfires are burning

all over the county.
I wake

from the couch I’ve been sleeping on
for weeks. I put

cold water to my face,
blow ash off the deck

with a hose. I sit
in the yard and close my eyes.

When I left that town
I left for good. I dreamed,

rarely, of streams, of blackbirds. I drew
everything we did to the trees, everything the trees

did to us. I drew it badly
and spent years trying

to draw it well. Eventually
I stopped.