Let’s just say the Book was correct, and it all started with a single breath. Inspiration—>Expiration. All the seconds in between these two. A breath into the void. A breath before saying “I love you.” A single breath to inflate the giant balloon of my ambition. The force of those breaths pulling so much else, so many people, with them into whatever gape I chose to fill. How many others’ breaths pulled in tow? How many sucked into my own trajectory? Seeing it all this way, I can’t help but think of Linda standing patiently, proudly next to me, totally balanced on her own two feet until that moment when I opened my mouth to set all of this into motion. And frozen in that one memory is the inevitable flow of air into space, the carnage I’ve lived since.
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 HAD, Heavy Feather, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Moist, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, and other journals. His latest collection is Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks (Mercer University Press, 2022). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.