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Travis Stephens


by Travis Stephens

“Left handed people are more numerous among criminals
and sinister left-sided people among lunatics.”
—Dr. Cesare Lambrosco

My left hand is in rebellion,
my pinkie curling
as if to die
as if to say I’m done
find another fool
to hold onto things you
can’t pay for.
Ignore the ring finger.
A few years ago it did this,
the bands of tendon fierce and
hard across my palm.
So they injected an inhibitor,
a sort of meat tenderizer
approved by the fucking drug
houses in the land of CoPay.
Hurt like hell.
Then the smiling technician
lay my hand on her table to
straighten it out.
There, she said, as fire
licked my hand, my arm,
any hope of good manners.
(Men should not sound like that.)
That wasn’t so bad, was it?

I wish I played a banjo,
claw hammer loud,
so I had a reason for a hand
like this one.
Or was in possession of
the nuclear football;
never let it go, sir.
Instead I am dealt
a weak hand, full of poor genetics.
Only promise I can keep
is take my hand, love.
I can’t ever let you go.


Travis Stephens is a tugboat captain who resides with his family in California. A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, recent credits include: 2River, Sheila-Na-Gig, From the Depths, Miletus, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, K’in Literary Journal, and In Parentheses.