The One Thing That Sticks

by Jack Bedell

— Bogue Chitto, 1996

It could easily be the rain spreading
on such a yellow, sun-ripe day
or the fish snapping to the surface
to eat the drops like flies,
their mouths almond-shaped and yearning.
Certainly, I could keep the June air
on fire, glowing with motes,
mosquito hawks, the soft French
coming from the woman sunning
naked on the next set of rocks,
the beauty of her tiny son
sliding his toy car along the lines
of her sun-blushed back and thighs,
any of these pleasant and mundane.
But the one thing that sticks is
the way your hips rolled over into waves
as you slid into the river,
the way its water spread
to accept your leaving.

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 At the Bone House (Texas Review Press) © 1998 by Jack B. Bedell. Used by permission of the author.