A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Jack B. Bedell


Off Bayou DuLarge


The tranasse where my uncle left me
cut a straight line to the blind,
an easy pass through high marsh.

Overhead, pintails circled
in formation, looking
for feed and other flocks.

I’d put the decoys out on the water
and set up behind the reeds of the blind
to start my calls. Short tick-a-ticks

to bring the ducks in for feeding,
staccato pleas not even the sun
could resist as it grew into the sky. 


My favorite souvenir I’ve acquired legally is a tiny, pewter cafeteria chair I received from the cadets at West Point after I’d done a reading and workshop there. That little chair is the perfect memento for the time I spent with the cadets, filled with memories of the hard work we put in during the workshop but also full of the irony that I’ve kept it so long after only being allowed 15 minutes to eat lunch in the cafeteria when we shared a meal with the cadets.

Jack B. Bedell is coordinator of creative writing and editor of Louisiana Literature at Southeastern Louisiana University.  His latest collections are Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected PoemsCall & ResponseCome Rain, Come ShineWhat Passes for Love; and At the Bonehouse.