h o m e........
p a s t   i s s u e s....
s u b m i s s i o n s....
l i n k s




a river chipped with stars,
night continues on without me.


I broke my teeth

on that world, Edith.
I watched people

do unspeakable things

to each other & then speak

to each other about the

unspeakable things they’ve done.

I watched the movie

they made about it,

further the documentary

hypothesizing the movie

& original intent

of the unspeakable things.

That world attempted

to draw a line

in the sand & each side,

asking me to choose

between being

with them or against them,

terrified me & some mornings

when your mouth presses

against my mouth, I can sense it

as the other side of mars is

sometimes craggy enough

to warrant being given up on.                      

We checked & rechecked 
the science. I’ve no idea

when I’ll fall back asleep

or if I’ll awake here again.

These are the facts.

Living as a swarm of cicadas

electric against winter

is a feeling.  Edith, I’m writing

to ask you to stop

mailing chain letters;

stop taping your cartoon sketches

of my face to our milk cartons,

(though I don’t mind

the have you seen my lover? poster

taped to our bathroom mirror,

because it reminds me to

look).In my place, radio songs will

creep fog

with you on your daily commute,

way out

into the blue, long after

every radio’s been gone. 

the topography of this place


The ocean stopped being cruel
so the sailors went home.
No one jumped from cliffs anymore.
People stopped painting and photographing the ocean
because the sentiment felt too close to a Hallmark card.
Everyone had treasure because
it was easy to find,
thus the stock market crashed.
Then the housing bubble burst
mostly not due to the ocean,
though one could speculate pirates
were going out of business and defaulting on loans.
When I say speculate, I mean I was reading
the small words that crawl at the bottom
of the newscast, but I was only half paying attention
because Erin Burnett was speaking
and she’s the most real part of this poem.
I’m speaking in metaphor of course.
The end of the world is coming
seagulls whispered to the fish
they could not eat due to their fear
of the ocean’s newfound kindness. 
One of my professors spoke today.
She hates personification, treasure and linear meaning.
She hates poems not written by dead people.
She hates the ocean’s newfound kindness,
she wrote it on my poem.
Not everything can be ghosts and pirates, she says.
But that’s why I live here.
My rhododendron’s never crumpled in the summer.

the topography of buried phosophoresence

as I left  I knew
even the dark would

have had trouble hiding
in the dark with you

(your dress hanging  from the clothesline
for all the spies to figure out).


I was the space

you were the floating eclipse    

we were once nobody

coiled like rope      
the night you and I fell,

like sunken treasure
that sits too long

beneath the ocean,

asleep in my attic.             


BIO: Keegan Lester is the founding editor of the journal Souvenir.   His work has been published in: CutBank, Sixth Finch, Ilk Journal, Phantom Limb and The Barn Owl Review among others. If you so dare, you can listen to him read poems at Yes, Poetry’s youtube channel.  He is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program. He swims in various pools daily.  

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