Jack B. Bedell

Swamp Thing Notices the Water’s Angrier These Days

When I first came out into the swamp, I saw my share of storms. After each one, the water rose. It topped river banks and levees, washed over houses, flowed through pasture land. But nothing like it is now. This year’s storms brought in water that crashed through town like rapids, with white caps and everything. These floods uprooted schoolhouses and deposited them under overpasses miles away. They carried off whole bridges and tore out sections of highway, disinterred entire cemeteries. Before, folks only had to wait for the sun to dry their things out so they could get back to work. Now, they’re left with past and future strewn all over like debris from horizon line to horizon line, their present sunken under waves, bitter with salt, like a grudge.

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, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, and other journals. His latest collection is Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks (Mercer University Press, 2022). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.

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