Poetry Fiction 2008

Hammer

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.

Presented by

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.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In