Luke Hankins

Luke Hankins is the author of a collection of poems, Weak Devotions (Wipf & Stock, 2011), and is the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (Wipf & Stock, 2012). A chapbook of his translations of French poems by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, I Was Afraid of Vowels...Their Paleness, was published by Q Avenue Press in 2011. He is Senior Editor at Asheville Poetry Review, and his poems, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including American Literary Review, Contemporary Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry East, and The Writer's Chronicle, as well as on the American Public Media radio program "On Being."

Vapor of Vapors


I pass by the running river
like a mist moving across the bank
into sunlight.
Vanity of vanities
we all recognize from the King James,
but that’s a rather invasive translation
of what the Hebrew literally says—
Vapor of vapors, all is vapor.
It’s an observation—something
we all notice to varying degrees,
and it’s a lament—something
we’re not at all happy about.
So how is it that when we hear it
we find it beautiful?