by Jackson Holbert

Many times I have chosen
the gar breathing on the river’s back
the cottonmouth wide-eyed and crazy
above the blinding sky
of its mouth. Night carves the Arkansas autumn.
I have been with you always.
You stare and then
we stare together. What work
has not been done by looking
hard at something? You knock
your boot on a headstone
and I ring like a bell.
I mean to say—
I went into the river.
Inside it was a tree.
The tree fell.
This poem previously appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and Best New Poets 2016.