the topography of our goal: which is to become the work we have in front of us
The yellow finch in the hollow
of Edith’s hands died on our porch last night
in the first snow.
The leaves had not fallen yet.
They ballooned until they broke
the backs of the trees. The broken backed trees fell
into power lines like canoes into the sky,
and you could feel the electricity
in the snow miles away. It was as if the Earth’s heart
became swollen, Edith said.
There wasn’t time for icicles.
There were no ambulance sirens
smearing the road red and blue.
Nothing to scar the sky with.
No one to put gold coins over its eyes.
I thought about how once Edith
took a picture of a slug
on the wall of our house.
She was wearing her squared glasses.
Night prepared itself to fall.
It smelled like eucalyptus,
even though I knew night couldn’t be eucalyptus.
I still have trouble telling the difference
between ravens and crows,
cadavers and the people
who cease to be people.
Keegan Lester is the founding editor of the journal Souvenir. His work has been or will be published in: CutBank, Sixth Finch, Ilk Journal, Phantom Limb, The Barn Owl Review, The Moon City Review, Interrupture, POOL and Leveler 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 pools daily— sometimes legally, sometimes less legally.