What I imagine of the place you grew up in, that you still don’t call home, from time to time when your voice’s register catches me off guard and I see you more than I hear your man costume

I guess

it’s too late

to live on the farm

to tattoo our eyelids

melt the golden

bars of chain and band

because the floodlight

spoke to me

at the bottom of bayou

last night, where muck

and mud ghost

and cleft lip black snaked

and widowed. i could see the trail

they left before us,

their knees and breasts,

their arms and fingers

dug into that shale sand

and you couldn’t tell

just by looking at it

like you can’t tell from

a reproduction of a painting,

but the strokes

were all there. i guess

it’s too late to live

on the farm

thrush crushing thrush

with their beaks

under the dark blanket of sky

where you said that noise,

those are angels out there

killing for angels because

angels don’t kill for god

under a blanket of anything

and because i was taught as a boy

that angels do their killing

out in the open

i wear this shirt

for good luck, the doe

sewn into the inside of the cuff

means don’t startle so easy,

don’t be a tuft of hair

but the entire scalp.

be something the others

will have to axe down,

will have to break you from

you, you yourself, from this earth

with silver bullet

with a horse that’s not theirs

and thus named in haste

as a name and gravity

are the only way

to get to somewhere else.


Keegan Lester is the author of this shouldn’t be beautiful but it was & it was all i had so i drew it (Slope Editions, 2016). He is the cofounder and poetry editor of Souvenir Lit and lives in New York City. 



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