jack B. Bedell





Today, walking the neighborhood,

I ran across a white cat.


It did not stop for me,

but stared me down


as if I’d offended it



Cats always worried

my uncle’s camp when I was young.


Even though he kept chinchillas

out back, he trusted the cats


to clean the dock

after he’d baited crab traps.


Not the white ones, though.

He ran those off,


said cats without color

were lutins. They turned


to goblins in moonlight,

troubled the horses so much


the animals couldn’t walk

rice fields in the mornings.


Lutins rode the horses’ backs

until dawn, plaited


their tails and manes

to let the farmers know


who owned the fields

first. No keyhole was ever


small enough to keep lutins out

if they wanted in.


My uncle always said

he was happy to have


more horses than hair.

Can’t say I ever understood that


until now.

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. His latest collections are Elliptic (Yellow Flag Press, 2016), Revenant (Blue Horse Press, 2016), and Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems (Texas Review Press, 2013).