“Someday they’re gonna write a blues for fighters. It’ll just be
               for slow guitar, soft trumpet and a bell.” —Sonny Liston

May every sunrise bring you miles
               of downhill road and smooth
                              pavement under the balls of your feet,
eggs and plenty steak, hours of
               heavy hands inside the ropes
                              and slack jaws to catch them.
May each afternoon stretch
               like the corners of your wife’s
                              smile toward supper,
and each night be full of aces,
               ice cubes, long rides in the deep
                              seats of quiet limos
so far away from cameras and notepads
               you never have to think about
                              a bell, or canvas, or the smell 
of an empty locker room.
               May there be a slow song
                              wherever you’ve found yourself.


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 DonkeyEcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, saltfront, and other journals. His latest collection is No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.