the paper was clean and white
the pencil was so sharp it snapped its lead
the broken pencil was a metaphor
for something
            but what?

the broken pencil was useless
there was a gaping hole like a volcano crater
where the lead used to be
although the term ‘lead’ is a misnomer:
modern pencils are made of graphite powder
and a clay bonding agent

the paper was practically crying out like:
write something
draw something
make a mark
but the broken pencil was impotent
            the metaphor is revealed


J. Archer Avary (he/him) quit journalism to focus on poetry. His work has appeared/is forthcoming in Stay Journal, The Remnant Archive, Melbourne Culture Corner, Kalonopia and elsewhere. He left the USA in 2014 and now lives on a tiny island in the English Channel. Twitter: @j_archer_avary


image: Lindsay Hargrave