two poems

by Jack B. Bedell

Like Asin at the Edge of the Woods What if my daughter took two steps too many into the river, lost her balance on slick rock? It would not matter there’s no undertow, not with catfish or copperheads pressing bellies to the mottled bottom. And even if the water had no interest in taking her, the forest surely would with its momma bear nosing our tent skirt before dawn, its tar shacks cooking meth up the hill, so much claw and tooth and black to disappear any of us quick, eat the muscle off our bones. Nearly enough to muffle the sounds of laughter glowing from inside these trees, or hide the outline of a girl against the woods’ dark trunks.   Just Another Day in November — “List Murder House,” Antieau Gallery How ordinary would a house have to be to hold an entire family dead, zipped up in sleeping bags on the living room floor for a solid month before any of the neighbors, or teachers, or police thought to ask? And what would the soccer moms who sat next to John List on the sidelines of his son’s final game, or the bank tellers who closed out all of his accounts that afternoon, say if you told them List spent the end of that day scrubbing drag marks from the kitchen tiles and cutting his own face out of family photos? To look at this house, even the next morning, it would be hard to admit that kind of evil exists in this world. Not with Wonder Bread left open on the counter, or fresh ham in the fridge, or church music playing softly on the radio. Not in the fall with the leaves just starting to turn. — 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 No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, fall 2018). He has recently been appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019. Artwork by: Petra Zehner