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Jack B. Bedell

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in HAD, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Cheap Pop, Heavy Feather, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, and other journals. His most recent collection is Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019. 

Swamp Thing Explores His Limits

I’d have no trouble loving a ghost. The coming and going. The sacrifice of touch. Hell, you
might say I’ve been doing that since my lab caught fire years ago. Just the notion of desire would
be enough for me. Especially the way my nights stretch on forever waiting for the sun to rise
again. To want something other than revenge or justice, even for a little while, would make it all
worth the cold distance that kind of lover needs. What I’m not sure of, though, is how far past
halfway I’d be willing to go for us to be together.




Swamp Thing Joins the Marsh Horses for a Spell

These horses aren’t nearly as skittish as the animals on the mainland. Or maybe they just see me
as a giant lump of grass. They let me follow them onto the thinnest slices of marsh jutting out
into the Pass without shaking their manes or giving a single grunt. There’s nothing but peace in
this herd with the sun warming our backs and a thin breeze coming off the water. They eat while
there’s eating to do. And they move along when the land’s cleared. No need to save anything.
Nothing to run away from, nor toward. No worry about the smell of rain.



Swamp Thing Sees Another Year Slip Away with the Tide

It’s easy out here to celebrate the sun setting behind the tree line again, water pulling itself back
out to Gulf with a whole year in tow, knowing right underfoot tree roots are stretching into the
mud, doing their best to find something fresh to quench their thirst, without even a thought for all
the heron nests busted up by that last storm or all the flotant marsh drifting by, but it is damned
difficult to watch it all go out without at least a little hope the water will bring some breeze with
it when it rolls back in.

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