The Fourth River

Tributaries: “Gulf, Waves”

By on January 18, 2017

By Jack Bedell


Big moon, breeze—my daughter hurries
to finish her sentence in the sand

before waves climb up the shore
like dogs sniffing panéed meat.

She wants to spell out the names
of all the people she loves,

but the closer the water gets,
the more she knows

she’ll have to edit her list
on the fly, leave some names

behind in the air to beat the tide,
its hunger boundless, and time.



Jack 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 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 Review, Hudson Review, Connecticut Review, Paterson Literary Review, Texas Review, Southern Quarterly, and other journals.