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  • Writer's pictureSharon Frances

The Hammer


I used the toddler step

to wash my hands, time to eat

Near the tippy top

You can reach it, don’t stop

The boards worn now

Red, blue, yellow bands

Scuffed by my feet

From all the trying

When I worked hard, you smiled

The curve of your lips, your shiny teeth

I would study all night for you

Burn the candle at both ends for you

Don't eat too much for you

Dim my light for you


I don't do what fills me

Only what drives me


I pick up the step stool now

My fingers covered in webs and dust

Never wondering if I must, if I should have, if I will

Seeing your smile when I did what you wanted

and then how it felt when my try wasn’t good enough

When my Bs weren’t As

When you flirted with girls my age

When you never ever let me take the stage

When I would no longer stay

When I felt small and wouldn’t play

Push me off the sidewalk

Tickle me until I cry.

You always had your way


I forgot what fills me

Can't do what drives me


I lift a hammer from my belt

firm in my grip, a claw at the tip

The toddler stool now on the ground

I slam the hammer down

rip the boards apart

curve up my lips

laugh, scream, spin around

With metal in my hands

that can break it all down

near the tippy top

reaching for me

You can’t touch me

any more


I remember what fills me

Not only what drives me


I curve my lips, laugh and scream.

Smash the hammer down again

This time, it's me that wins.

I am starving,

and could eat the memories whole.

You have no idea what’s in store

You are not important any more

I untie my shoes, toss them

Throw them hurl and fling them

My sweat sparkles like a gem

I am rich now, know full well what to do now

I stare at the hammer

High above my head

My grip pinching hard

Swollen hands, sweat drips

But I am full, I am fed


The puffy clouds blot my tears

Bird song rings my ears

I slam the metal down

watch the boards break

Splinters long and short,

imagine what I can make


I am done with what drives me

I will do what fills me


My arms full of hammer and wood

Sweat and relief

I walk through the door,

No one my thief

No longer in disbelief

Feeling good, in brief

I lay my toddler stool near

Rest in peace, it’s me here now

The stair you build in shatters

Its glue, buttons, spools on the table now

And I am most certainly able

To claim myself,

To reach and build

To hold and fill

To turn into

something new

A bird, a flower,

maybe

a few



These words and images are the property of the poet, Sharon Frances.

Do not use in part or whole without permission.

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