Summer, Handfishing

by Jack Bedell

My uncle’s rules were simple enough.
Leave your books behind at the truck,
a bare sole the difference
between a small cut on the foot
and the real pain of angry metal
forced straight up through a shoe.
Approach everything with care,
palms down, fingers out.
Live by every decision —
nothing grabbed wants to be,
so use your hands with forceful purpose.
And just in case you grab something
more decisive than you, before
it grabs you back, let it go.

Jack B. Bedell was born and raised in south Louisiana. He earned his B.A. and M.A. from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches before attending the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, where he earned his M.F.A. He now teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University where he serves as Editor of Louisiana Literature. His first book, At the Bonehouse, won the 1997 Texas Review Prize, and his chapbook, What Passes for Love, was the winner of the 2000 Texas Review Chapbook Competition.

from What Passes for Love (Texas Review Press), © 2001 by Jack B. Bedell. Used by permission of the author.