MARCH 2018


Another Night, Just


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.