“How to Know If Your .89 is Real”: FOR Ways




flare sticks


“How to Know If Your .89 is Real”: FOR Ways

You see your .11 years later

on the evening news. It is early fall.


Two beams of blue light rising.


Every station is airing the footage.


You shield your eyes and see

even your own hands are separate.

You push them together tighter

and your smallest fingers begin

to create crooked red towers.


There’s a photograph in a drawer

that’s clearly been taped together.

if you flipped it over to a closer look.

Closer than the two people standing there,

in shirts one only buys on the road,

looking into the camera wondering

how any and all of this ends and when.


What you held back: love–real love–

has been fashioned into walking sticks.

The tips of the sticks still smolder,

twin tendrils of smoke curl upward

from your having used them to signal

in any plane that might be circling.


They’ve been inscribed to read–

not left and right–



L is for Leaving


Reason I Roam.


Each click a kind of cadence

upon a brick path,

an affirmation to keep moving.


Left. . .you were right. . .to have left.


Paul W. Hankins (March 2015)




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