Pull your boat up to the shore here now
with hundreds of pelicans in flight

above the island, their nests scattered
in the mangrove bushes all over

this place, and you’d never guess
it was a ghost of itself five years ago,

just a ring of stone with barely enough
grass to hide a handful of eggs.

Barges of silt from the river’s mouth
have built hope here where Gulf

and storms had taken over on their way
to our coast. Breakwaters placed off the beach

to give young birds refuge have kept
everything safe from wind and wave.

Sawgrass and matrimony vines have held
the island together so our own children

can visit here one day, and so their children
might know land is more than memory.

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in HAD, Rejection Letters, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Cotton Xenomorph, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, and other journals. His most recent collection is Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.