Dear Thumbtack

Sometimes I wonder
if you aren’t the smallest
quantifiable unit of pain,
as in “How many thumbtacks
does it hurt?”
asks the school nurse,
and aside from that
you look like
the droppings of some
steely, satanic bird,
and when I find you
hiding in the carpet
with the bald globe
of my heel, I think
of all the grief
you pin in place: pictures
of lost cats on telephone
poles and company
meeting schedules
on cubicle walls.
You leave little holes
in the corners
where the photoblood
leaks out. Now
my father’s face
on the poster board
above my desk
has gone all white
because of you, but
because of you
he does not fall.




Gregory Lawless’s poems have appeared in such places as Pleiades, The National Poetry Review, The Journal, Third Coast, Sonora Review, The Cincinnati Review, La Petite Zine, Cider Press Review, and many others. He is the author of I Thought I Was New Here (BlazeVOX, 2009) and Foreclosure (Back Pages Publishers, 2013).