OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 5

Jack Bedell

Crux, Issue

No sun, no shadows

            spilling off the cane stalks,

 

this late wind reminds you

            there is winter somewhere

                        north of the horizon.

 

Inside, neighbors sing their best

            Andy Williams between highballs.

 

You build a fort in the front yard

            out of loose bricks

                        large enough to house

                                    the baby Jesus, calculate

                        how long it would take

    to rescue Him from the manger

in front the church, wonder

 

how much time would pass

            before anyone missed the child.

 

Goujon

   after Mai der Vang's Phantom Talker

People will tell you,

             I am the dark thing

with gaping mouth

 

waiting deep

             in the silt

    under still waters.

 

You dream of meals

my thick body would yield.

 

    Spread out your poles,

    hooks, corks, frozen shrimp.

 

Nothing in your tackle box

can pull me from this mud.

 

           My patience is black

           as time itself.

 

And even if you tied

the shiniest of spinners

near your hook to call me out,

 

you have no line that would pass my test.

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. His latest collections are Elliptic (Yellow Flag Press, 2016), Revenant (Blue Horse Press, 2016), and Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems (Texas Review Press, 2013). He has recently been appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.