Ruskin and the Terrors of the Flesh
Even in the candles’ soft glow
he could see the flesh fall
soft the first time Effie loosed
her gown. Her skin held nothing
of the smooth, cold stones he had
caressed in museums, her lines
ruined and heavy. And the hairs,
reaching out from every crevasse,
so needy and insistent. He had hoped
long hikes in the countryside
might tire them somehow,
but they always reached for him
in the dark, found his fingertips
with a greater desire than
his own. He could bring himself
to this point of confrontation
but could never venture far enough
into this dark to conquer any fears.
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 Southern Review, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, and other journals. His latest collection is Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.
Robert Frank—now there was someone who could photograph a juke joint. Bobby Miller, on the other hand, is a librarian and amateur photographer. He has work forthcoming in Atticus Review and Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art. His website is bobbymillerphoto.com. With his wife, Sandie Friedman, he publishes a project combining photography and microfiction: sandiebobby.com.