Issue > Poetry
Michael Homolka

Michael Homolka

Michael Homolka's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Notre Dame Review, West Branch, and Witness. His book-length manuscript was recently a finalist for the National Poetry Series. He works in book production in New York City.

First Apartment, III

I know the difference between a bed frame and a hammer. The sound of a hammer is the sound of home—dull metal bell beside a saw, my father sweeping shavings off his worktable while I watch. The sound of a hammer is the sound of scaffolding on Sunset Boulevard, a man in tight jeans asking my mother to please drive around. A hammer is quick—too quick for even the best of us to match by way of a bed frame. I know the difference between a driveway filled with bicycles, leftover flower pots, stacks of bricks that swallow daylight whole—. I know the difference between a lit hallway and a closed door, between my mother in a robe and a night alone with a book. I know the difference between a curved driveway and a marble lobby. Everything here has been arranged to feel like California—the plastic palms indoors, the polished balustrades, the wide bay windows without a bay. I know the difference between being good with my hands and needing to ask for help, between knowing how clasps work and still having to guess, between pressing my ear against the wall and holding a pillow over my head. Last night the sound a floor above was a hammer.

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