Keegan Lester is the author of the books Perfect Dirt (WVU Press, 2021) and this shouldn’t be beautiful but it was and it was all i had so i drew it (Slope Editions, 2017). His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, The Academy of American Poets, The Rumpus, The Boston Review and Cutbank, among others.
Photo by Lisa Stender
Small, Benign, Wishes
Like a slumbering hornet’s nest
the landfill hums
across the street from our high school.
Specks of it grow inside our bodies now.
The only thing of me eternal.
I’ve named my specks Grace,
hoping what foreign fills me might be light.
It’s the part of me that will still be on the Earth
long after the sun unclenches its supernova fist.
I tell you, all matters of the soul are man-made.
Nearby, someone built a castle. A literal
eye-sore with stone walls and a turret
as if a moat could save them
from what lives all around us.
Cancer’s always a surprise when it comes
calling names of people we know.
First John, who dribbled his basketball,
passed our house each day. His rhythm and cadence
evangelizing me. Like the Lord’s prayer,
no matter what I do I can’t unknow his sound
from the broth of my bones. Then
a friend’s father passed. And then
another and another.