Poetry Fiction 2008

Hammer

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This steel may well outlive you.
The kiss of its cool, aching head—
ring-stunned, dumb and frozen.

The handle is no matter.
When it splinters like a struck bone,
burn it out. Take a new shaft made of oak,

drive a wedge to mate them firm.
A hammer wants for such pure contact—
the true swing falling through each nail

as if it were not there—
so, too, the hand that drives it down,
shivered in the blunt and striking grace.

Lucas Howell received his M.F.A. from the University of Idaho in 2007. He lives in Wyoming and works in the oil fields of the Powder River Basin.
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