Jack B. Bedell


   —Henderson Swamp

The swamp smells heavy
  like a soul tethered to the heat
dripping down every window.

     It slaps the glass with hairy arms,
leaves big prints along the basin’s shore,
  berry scat at the base of cypress trees.

Easy to hit that smell and know
    it’s been left by something old
and large as the trees themselves,

  something dark at its core,
    always moving
from home to home, lonely

  as the moon against black sky.
Can you breathe and not hear
    its claws scraping down

      rusted metal?
Can you breathe and not
  lock all doors?

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 collection is No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, fall 2018). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.

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