Two Poems

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Two Poems


by Jack Bedell


I brought my daughter to the coast
to set our feet as close to water
as we could without losing
shoes to soft shore. I had her
smell the air, listen for tide’s lap.
I told her these things haven’t changed
since I was a child, only our distance
from the shrimp boats
trawling the horizon has.

Then at one point I did not need to translate the notes;
they went directly to my hands

—Francesca Woodman, 1976

Palms flat against the old house’s wall,
it does not matter what you are, hidden
under tears of curled wallpaper—all hair

and skin and bone and fears of
a life you might not have time to live.
This house, its cracked plaster and bare

plank floor, has its own story to tell through
you, through what only your eyes
notice, the light your lens traps.

Light, dark, straight lines, open angles,
curves we all know are there, just
out of view: these build the chord

you strike. Resolved or not, it all
means, more than you might intend,
even more than the house’s ghosts deserve.

wall & shrimp boat
About the Author

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. Jack’s work has appeared in HAD, Heavy Feather, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Moist, Autofocus, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, and other journals. He’s also had pieces included in Best Microfiction and Best Spiritual Literature. His latest collection is Ghost Forest (Mercer University Press, 2024). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.