Hammer Face

A poem by Matt Dennison


One night after dinner
our father rose from the table
walked into the parlor
sat before the piano
pulled two packs
of thumbtacks
from his pants
slit the packs
with stiletto slid
from shirtsleeve
into hand and back
opened the piano top
worked a tack into every hammer face
ragtime’d wild for twenty minutes
and never played again.


After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also developed short films alongside Michael Dickes, Swoon (Marc Neys), and Marie Craven.

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What face?

A poem by Allison Grayhurst


A moody afterglow – the error of thoughts, hopeless
when it comes to laughter and the power of worship.
On the table there are self-deeds, failed
revelations, kneading and prying wide a soul
that doesn’t want to be recognized. I want you
to allow me this success, to find the flavour of your eyes,
shape them with tools and my thumbs, to press the flat
hard edges of my palms against your cheekbones, press and
form the cause of your pride, your loneliness that seems so
important to maintain. Curled toes and chins, your chin
is becoming, shifting from strong to soft. You are neither
masculine nor feminine. You are privileged – to be so
beautiful and uncommitted to a single way of looking. Look.
Your hair – long or cut off? In real life, there is no
perfect symmetry. You are bold, accurate –
your nose and the lines around your mouth are my contemplation.
Let me know you. Be courageous.
Let me pry, split and mould your inner
workings until they are as clear (for both of us)
as love.


Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications’ “Best of the Net” in 2015, she has over 1100 poems published in over 430 international journals. She has had sixteen books of her poetry published—seven collections and nine chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay… Visit her website!