Two Poems | by Jack B. Bedell

[So He Picks This Spot Off I-55]

Traffic north of the spillway peters out
        and the moon offers no light at all,
so he picks this spot off I-55

to drop the bodies he collects
       in the French Quarter. The breeze
coming off the lake cools everything.

He can hear the water moving
         toward shore below the overpass,
can sense the tops of trees swaying

just below the clouds. This weight
         he drops over the safety rail
does not need make up, or jewelry,

or the silence the water offers below.
         For him, it is drigaille, just waste
to leave in the swamp, like an old freezer

empty and all out of use,
         eager to sink to the lake’s floor,
hold the water’s slow burn.




Kate Mulvaney in Maurepas

                                                                  The forest is born
Of water and storm, with space to swallow her days.

She will learn to cure all fevers with oak moss
And pulp from cypress knots.

Night brings tide moon:
                                                  Locust song.

From the moment she walks the road out of town
Into these shadows, she learns to eat only cold things.

People will visit her as long as they feel pain.

She will coat their shriven brows
                     With fish blood,
                                                                 Juice of grasshoppers.

                     When the water off her dock
Turns brackish, she will bolt her doors.

                       Her bed is thirst, wet with sweat.




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.