Stephanie Barbé Hammer

night in 5, 1959 (fire island, new york)

there are no stars in

new york city; the

sky is black because

the buildings tower up

windows of whiteness

so try: imagine

stars seen for the first 

time, coming out of a 

movie with parents

on fire island — i

looked at the big sky

filled with tiny brights

scattered sparkles i 

said look but they did

not see. i lonewalked

quiet. see - i knew 

myself different. i

felt things they didn’t.

they talked about the 

movie. but i kept 

watching stars all this 

time making wishes

to bring back to the 

city so that each 

lit aperture could

become marvelous 

a just discovered 

shared constellation


Stephanie Barbé Hammer is a 6-time Pushcart Prize nominee in fiction, nonfiction and poetry She is the author of the prose poem chapbook Sex with Buildings (dancing girl press), the full-length collection How Formal? (Spout Hill Press), and the fabulist novel The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior (Urban Farmhouse Press). Her novelette Rescue Plan just came out with Bamboo Dart Press in February 2021.