Another Night, Just
by JACK B. BEDELL
Our day starts with news
of another mass shooting out West.
We learn about bump stocks,
rush to get things ready for the ride to school,
exams, football games. The rest rolls downhill fast
until I’m on my belly in a gas station parking lot
crawling over gravel to place a jack
under the axle of my truck, right next
to a blown-out sidewall. My daughter’s crouched over
asking me if I know what deposition is.
“Not like in court,” she says, “like when big rocks
break into small chunks of stuff.”
There’s a cricket with me under the truck, somewhere,
and it answers with a quick scree before I can.
My son’s head pokes under the door
on the other side, and he tells us
that if we slowed down a recording of a field full of crickets
it would sound just like a choir of people
singing in perfect harmony. And even right there
lying on the ground, rocks cutting into my stomach,
I have to laugh at how easily “if” and “just”
roll off his tongue.
Jack B. Bedell
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. Find him at www.jackbbedell.com and @jackbedell.