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POETRY / I’m One Man / Michael Hammerle

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But I feel like I’m two men, like a left hand and right hand;
smooth hand and coarse hand.
One man is hard, cusses like a bit lip,
chops wood and punches trees.
Throws the heavy bag across the yard.
The other man cleans and cooks his share,
loves his kid and never loses his temper with her,
finds his wife’s favorite show from when she was kid,
wakes her to breakfast in bed, a clean, dressed baby smiling
in his arm
and a plate of food in the other hand.
It is Mother’s day.
She sits up and smiles, hair a little thicker looking from a night’s
sleep
and the covers she tightens before they can slip down and says
thanks
like a woman who needed this
like we all need a little extra care sometimes.
When the man that is so mad comes out more frequently my caring
feels like an apology.
It is a balance like hanging your toes
off the edge of a concrete bridge.
That space under my heels is all I want left of the mad man.
I’m two men, like a left and right hand
smooth hand and coarse hand.


Michael Hammerle is pursuing his MFA at the University of Arkansas at Monticello where he teaches composition. He holds a BA in English from the University of Florida. He is the founder of Middle House Review. His fiction has been published in The Best Small Fictions 2017 selected by Amy Hempel. His prose and poetry has been published in, or forthcoming from, Split Lip Magazine, New Flash Fiction Review, New World Writing, the Matador Review, After the Pause, Misfit Magazine, Door Is A Jar, and many more magazines. His lives and writes in Gainesville, FL. www.mikehammerle.com