Keegan Lester


Keegan Lester is a poet splitting time between New York City and Morgantown, West Virginia. His first collection of poetry won The 2016 Slope Editions Book Prize, selected by Mary Ruefle. He’s been featured on NPR, CBS NewYork Radio, Marshall University Radio, Chapman University Radio, Coldfront and The New School Writing Blog among other podcasts and blogs. His work has been published in The Academy of American Poets: Poem A Day Series, The Boston Review, The Journal and BOAAT among other places.


The Topography of Sleeping


while i was out getting drunk night after night, there were entire collectives of people searching for lions.

lions with thorns in their paws.  as these sightings became more & more rare some resorted to placing thorns

nearby, hoping to plant seeds in the minds of these majestic & furious beasts until one night black stopped

being black, until even the petals on stems people went to for guidance were cloaks placed by someone else:

she loves me, she loves me not, she  a brazen erupting star, she the sacrifice to appease something that was made up.

we were asked to wash the priests  hands. to wait until we could see images in the heads of match flame.

no greater enemy exists than the self-conceit of our own wisdom.  i was left completely unequipped for

what to push up against walls, over desks, through black holes. i was left completely unequipped for the

becoming part, for the end, for the fingertips of the cosmos. the one thing i know is real is that my

grandmother used to steal coal from her father to warm her school house.  that was her job: steal coal,

so other children could learn to read.  when you think of west virginia, think of her.

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