Just a Beginning
                                       —for Julia Sims

Water ripples, and rustling
in the tops of trees
where herons
ready their bones for flight.

The photographer
coasts her boat toward
the middle of the lake.

Dawn bursts purple over Manchac.

Cold morning becomes psalm.


Dead Turtle

My daughter leaves the body
as it lies, will not disturb
the turtle’s last stretch
to position it with more grace.

She covers it with azalea petals
to cool its skin, outlines
its body in concentric circles
of branches, swatches
torn from magazines—

there is no other shelter to offer
from the sun or ants, save
color and soft voices.

In some other place, she will find
song to hold all of this, enlaced.

Jack B. Bedell is currently a 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); Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems, Call & Response, Come Rain, Come Shine, What Passes for Love and At the Bonehouse, all published by Texas Review Press (a member of the Texas A&M Press Consortium). His work has appeared in the Southern ReviewHudson ReviewConnecticut ReviewPaterson Literary ReviewTexas ReviewSouthern Quarterly, and other journals.