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Tag Archives: hammer

found poem: language

found poem: a stone

during…

always…

memory…

fragments…Howard…1

Howard muttered to himself as he picked among the tools in the box. “This is no way to keep tools,” he could hear his grandfather saying. “A man has to show some respect for a hammer, elsewise the hammer won’t show no respect for the man.”

He had tried. Truly he had. He had let Big Dad position his hand on the well-worn handle, his small child’s hand completely enclosed within his grandfather’s large calloused fingers, lift his arm back and swing down again with force, striking the nail, driving it home into the scrap of pine. Again and again. He had tried. “No boy, you’re chokin’ it up. Let the hammer do the work. Lev’rige,” he’d say, “Lev’rige.” The workbench was scattered with Howard’s bent nails, his pieces of wood spined like sick porcupines with nails that leaned and flattened, but seldom drove true.

His mother could do it. She could swing a hammer, make good with a saw and a wrench and a screwdriver, build things and repair just about anything that broke, although she left most of the repairing to Big Dad, “so he could feel like a man,” she’d say. “His biggest disappointment,” she called herself, only child to this man who needed sons. But Howard knew early on that the baton of disappointment had been passed as he found his way into books and bugs and baking, but could make no peace with the hammer…

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