by Tom Barlow

One conceals his grievances in a satchel 
like a furtive meal he will eat while 
everyone else sleeps. Another keeps hers 
in the pocket of a winter coat;

she takes them out every morning and 
pokes them with a long fingernail to see if
they still shows signs of life, and of course 
they do. A third holds the six o'clock news 

responsible and pelts the screen
with ping pong balls every night,
dodging the ricochets. Another
keeps her shovel sharp, since she buries

hers every afternoon only to find them
sitting there on her mantel in the evening 
like tchotchkes from a train wreck.
The setting sun leaves grievances littered across 

the landscape like discarded wedding bands.
Eventually we are all dragged across that
same ground, scarring it with our heel marks, 
and the harder we dig in, the faster we go.


Tom Barlow is an Ohio author of poetry, short stories and novels. His work has appeared in journals including  PlainSongs, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, The New York Quarterly, The Remington Review, and many more. See more at