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The war ships bobbing off the coast. The outdated oil drills painted so to blend into the clouds. The gold thin stitched to the water's edge. Errant dolphin. Balled up piece of trash on PCH with the list: Eggs, whole milk, butterflies. You cry like a peacock, she says, every time you get close to being the thing you want to be. What if God is the people around us: watching, listening? What a relief that would be. But it's so easy to forget we're not only being watched by the people in front of us, but also by the people in places we cannot see. What is it to be allowed back again? On the bike path, my father ahead of me, saying, look at the wind, meaning: look at the thing doing the moving, moving orange-coned flags holding on for dear life. The salt rolling off the ocean rots everything in its jowls & my skin so close to turning, I can feel becoming the metal shard you will learn to protect yourself from, capable of catching the light drawing you in. Everything rusted is a story beginning once upon a time, I was young, standing in front of the ocean, beneath the sun without consequence or query for time, just standing, looking out into the thing unaware of its indifference. There's something Greek in that. Did Odysseus need the monsters more than they needed him? Does it matter? A kind of antiquity in that line of thinking but also something very American. Akin to sparklers. They only dance if you light them & wave. Birds do not abandon their young merely because of human touch. This & so many other myths my mother breaks in her search for palatable colors, for mixing, for making what was lost whole again.
"As a person who suffers from anxiety, I often wonder how much of my anxiety about the world is self-imposed. I wonder if it's not that at a young age I might have heard someone say something and that person got it all wrong and thus I continued living my entire life after without knowing they got it wrong until the moment arrives when I see that it's not true. And I often wonder about what others live with and live through, others who never have the fortune and privilege to arrive at the moment where they find rest." —Keegan Lester
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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