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Swamp Thing Just Wants to Teach a Man to Fish

By Jack B. Bedell

If I've learned a single thing from the old trees it's to avoid power, yours or anyone else's. Truth is, I could fix most of the problems around this place, coax the cypress grove back to life on the lake at Maurepas, shore up the coast with mangrove, re-vegetate any wasteland with a simple thought. I've got the power to do all that. But it would be just like raking under an oak tree, or cleaning toys off a toddler's floor. People would find a way to screw it all up again in an instant, especially knowing I'm here to fix it for them. Again and again. This world doesn't need that kind of god. What it needs, what these people need, isn't some benevolent eraser to get rid of their messes. They need their very own tackle box full of tools and lures, a quality rod, and plenty of line strong enough to help them do the job for themselves.


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. He has also had work included in Best Microfiction and Best Spiritual Literature. His latest collection is Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks (Mercer University Press, 2022). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.


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