Ryan Harper

Photograph by Michael Howarth (2022)

Nothing so insistent in the air—
so on, so on
I understand the hammer

beating toneless on a wall
a body a whole city
called to its order

I believe the hammer
crushing the copper
minting the brass

lifts the blood—the cheek
the coinage glows
blind I would believe

the splintered wedge
chocking the tire
needs every blow

before the one that breaks
it—rude the justice
obstructing motion

the securing swing
dead on the striking face
safe and dead

so on with all this
I understand the hammer
throw it down

Ryan Harper

Ryan Harper is the author of My Beloved Had a Vineyard, winner of the 2017 Prize Americana in poetry (Poetry Press of Press Americana, 2018). Some of his recent poems and essays have appeared in Meniscus, Fauxmoir, Kithe, Consequence, Fatal Flaw, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. A resident of New York City, Ryan is the creative arts editor of American Religion Journal.

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