“Cenote Skull” by Jack B. Bedell

Chichén Itzá


Before the divers bring the skull 

back to the surface,

they say a quick prayer to Chaac


asking permission to take it.

With others’ bones and jade,

this child had been cast into the hole


to beg rain down from the god’s

hoard of jars. Now, it has

stories to tell of its homeland


and meals. It will be bagged,

again, and carted to a sterile room.

Clay will wake the ghost of its face


and it will find a place to rest

its empty gaze.



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 ReviewBirmingham Poetry ReviewPidgeonholesThe ShoreCotton XenomorphOkay DonkeyEcoTheoThe HopperTerrainsaltfront, and other journals. His latest collection is No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.

%d bloggers like this: