Matt Kolb

the art of the hammer



the pounding of the nail

the art of the hammer, see, you have to

drive it

and when done right, it is as satisfying as

the sunset


the head is countersunk in one

outrageously simple blow


The Novice

taps it over and over

slowly and softly


like the time I sat in the stand

and repeated “Yes, Your Honor” until I could no longer

hear myself speaking


mostly though, The Novice swings with a rage and inaccuracy that

bends the nail


then you have a choice, to start over, and pull the nail out

or to try to straighten the nail and keep swinging


MATT KOLB splits his time between his family farm in rural west Michigan and Chicago. He is the winner of the 2014 Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Poetry Prize. His work has been published in Forklift, Ohio, Exposition Review, The Michigan Poet, and elsewhere.