"Bent Teeth" photo by Stephen Briseño
The Pale Man’s Eyes Never Leave the Horizon
by Jack B. Bedell
When a wave rolls up out of nowhere,
do not look down. It is my body
shifting under the surface.
I will be there in the shallows
to hear the people of the woods
warn you not to disturb me.
My eyes, the size of white perch,
will roll back into their sockets
at the sound of your laughter.
Whenever your children come to the shore
aching to disappear into my calm lake,
I will grab them by their ankles,
draw them into the deep water
with their last breaths still captive
in their lungs. For each beating heart
I devour, each of your barges
full of tree trunks I sink, you
will cry a slow prayer toward
the dying light. There is no lesson
in this pain for you, no
road you can build long enough
to escape my reach, the teeth
I sharpen each night, waiting
for the crunch of bones you are.
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 Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems (Texas Review Press, 2013). He has recently been appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.
Stephen Briseño is a poet and middle school English teacher. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mentor Mixtapes, 8Poems, formercactus, Riddled with Arrows, and Right Hand Pointing. He lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and daughter, where you can usually find them lounging at a coffee shop. Follow him on Twitter: @stephen_briseno.