I know I need to move along. Shouldn’t be out in the open on the coast like this, but it’s not every day I get to see a sperm whale in Sister Lake. Not any day, actually. You have to wonder what would draw an animal like this into these shallows so close to marshland, its dorsal fin loafing back and forth along the mudflats like it’s trying to decide whether the water’s gotten too hot or too full of plastic to make all the swimming worth it. Maybe it just wants to belly up on the shore and watch the tops of those trees sway in the distance along the horizon until its own weight squeezes all the air out of its lungs. Maybe a day always comes when moving along isn’t the prettiest choice.


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. Jack’s work has appeared in HADPidgeonholes, Heavy FeatherOkay DonkeyEcoTheoMoonParkTerrain, and other journals. His latest collection is Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, spring 2021). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.