What my father knew
he could calculate

with small pad
and pencil nub,
length of pipe
and drilling angle

through soft soil
or through rock.
                           No matter
if he lost a finger to metal coupling
or burned in an explosion,

nothing would change
how numbers fit
together on his page—

neatly in lines
like children on a dock’s edge,



Jack B. Bedell is currently a Professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also serves as Editor of Louisiana Literature and Director of Louisiana Literature Press. His recent books are Ellipsis (Yellow Flag Press), Revenant (Blue Horse Press), and Bone-Hollow, True: New and Selected Poems (Texas Review Press).