My brother brought me to see you wrestle

       at the Houma Civic Auditorium

                   when I was in grade school.


The ring was so small, there wasn’t

       nothing you could do but bounce

                   off the ropes and meet your opponent


in the middle for an arm bar or a test

       of strength. You couldn’t even sell

                   punches without falling out of the ring.


I’ve been to Waxahachie, too, to visit

       my father’s people and ask about you.

                   Aside from the mill smell, it didn’t


look too much like hard living, nothing

       worth hating anybody over. Here’s

                   hoping you’ve found some peace


with all that now that you’re done.

       Have a cold brew, if there’s cold

                   where you are, with a Funk or two.


You know, I don’t recall how that match

       wound up. Last I remember, you had

                   that dude up for a brain buster 


with nowhere to put him down.


# # #

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, Birmingham Poetry Review, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Cotton Xenomorph, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, Kissing Dynamite, and other journals. His latest collection is No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.