Leaving Almira


By Jackson Holbert

The blue sky and peeling birch
are everywhere and they're amazing
turning everywhere but inward
like a basketball
that's never been shot by an air rifle.
And the ground, my god
if I dug a grave
and dove in I think
I'd come back as wheat or lentils
or a big tractor
and a farmer would say
where the hell did this tractor come from
and I couldn't answer
and I couldn't feel anything
because I would be a tractor
and the farmer would scan the papers
and the corkboard at the diner
for anything about a missing tractor
and then he'd add me to his fleet
and only let his sons know
that one day there was no tractor
then poof
free tractor.
And I'd be a good tractor.
The furrows I make
would be deep and even.
Thinking on it a little more
I do not want to be a tractor
and would much rather be a truck
hurtling from county to county
maybe speeding from something
maybe not
but under the impression
that speeding could save me
and I'd stop in Almira at noon
when you can almost feel the harvest
in your blood and think god
I could make a life here
I could die here
and then
I'd just keep driving.


Jackson Holbert's work has appeared in Vinyl, Thrush, Muzzle, and The Minnesota Review, among others. He lives in Massachusetts and is a poetry editor at The Adroit Journal.