John C. Mannone | Left Handed

So you think this is about left-handed people
and fear that I might be saying they are a minority
in a right-handed dominant society.
But you’d be dead wrong, and I’d be right
about the left-hand turning to open valves
of closed minds. That’s what I’ve learned
in school—righty tighty, lefty loosey—But
the left hand of darkness looms, wants to shake
you up. There is no right, or wrong, it declares.
Have you ever noticed how the left mirrors
the right? No, not politics, the only reflection there
is the inconsistency of both sides, fingers pointing
at each other. But together, their hands fold
into prayer. There’s no right way (or left) to do that.
So, do you think this is still about the bad left?
Well, let me tell you something right for a change:
the way molecules line up and down your soul.
Don’t you know that left-handedness is honorable?
In fact, our being depends on it. It’s organic.
Every life-giving chemical in our wretched cage-
framed heart is a left-handed sonofabitch.
They are never right, and if they were, we wouldn’t
be here. Yep! That’s right. We would be left out
of the evolutionary process, our amino acids abased.
DNA would corkscrew the wrong way, so to speak,
and we’d be screwed out of existence. No chemistry.
Left-handed stereoisomers sound right. Indeed,
the left-handed ones make us up. It must have been that
twist of dirt when we were breathed into the living.
Is that why the right hand doesn’t know what the left
is doing, even when it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul?
Sometimes it is underhanded, too, like when Jacob
supplanted Esau: he stuck out his left foot, tripped
him up in the birth canal. Later, he stole the left-over
stew, lunged for his father’s right hand of blessing
(even mother knew it was the right thing to do).
Deception is always right; deception is never right.
We speak out both sides of our mouths all the time:
right arms waving flags high, with our left hands
hidden in our pockets, ready to pull the trigger.


John-C.-Mannone-correctedJohn C. Mannone has over 550 works published in venues such as Peacock Journal, Gyroscope Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Inscape Literary Journal, Windhover, and Baltimore Review. He’s been awarded a 2016 Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities writing residency and has two literary poetry collections, including one on disability, Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press, Dec 2015) featured at the 28th Southern Festival of Books. He edits poetry for Silver Blade and Abyss & Apex and he’s a college professor of physics in east Tennessee. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart three times. Visit

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