Two Poems—Jack B. Bedell


There’s no good
to swallow
                                        your words.
Let them float
the tip of your
Say what you need
         to say                    now,
because you’ll be
         a ghost
                          Those white shoes
you have on
just like chickens,
there’s alligators
right down the bank.

Ghost Swell, Henderson

“Find beauty, be still.”—W.H. Murray

This swamp never stops breathing.
          Find shade somewhere
                        and string up a hammock.

Close your eyes. The bug whine
          dips and swells, water
                        laps against the roots 

of trees. You’ll learn to hear
          distance, the sharp flaps
                        of wings. Quiet your mind

and you may even pick out
          claws scratching down cypress bark.
                        Keep at this until the sun

drops past the tree line and you’ll
          feel the hum of spirits
                        gathering on the lake’s surface.

Remember, you are always free
          to linger here. Just be still.
                        Mind your beating heart.

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in Southern ReviewBirmingham Poetry ReviewPidgeonholesThe ShoreJuke JointOkay DonkeyEcoTheoThe HopperTerrainKissing Dynamite, and other journals. His latest collection is No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017–2019. 

photo by Elvis Bekmanis (via unsplash)