Ruskin and the Ghost Over His Shoulder, Jack Bedell
He never minded the mediums themselves,
always earnest in their concerns for his loss.
Aside from the smell of candle smoke
filling his parlor, seances were pleasant
experiences that went, like most evenings,
absolutely nowhere. Whenever the women
reached for his palms to read,
he did his best to focus on the wind
in the orchard, or the peacocks’ calls,
leaving a line for them they could never
cross. The very last time he poked
at this veil, though, all the faces
in the room paled at the sight
of an apparition over his shoulder,
certain it was Rose come back
for his embrace. And their certainty
was finally more than enough to convince him
his turning might burn this whole world to ash.
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 collection is Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.