Monday, October 5, 2020

Tom Barlow


Daddy bought Madison a Glock for her
eighteenth birthday, and the handgun quickly loved her
beyond all measure. The two became an item

around the town's discotheques, where even the
gorgeous men with their flick knives learned that
asking Madison to dance was a daring move,
for it was her gun took her home every night.

Out of school, she found she could shed the wounds of
her daily job by buffing the brass of the bullets in the
evening. As she snapped each round back home into
the magazine, the gun offered to speak to her boss
on her behalf, but Maddy said no. She said no every night.

As she settled into middle-age, her lover continued
to assure the world she remained perilous treasure.
But on those few nights when Maddy dared leave
her gun in a drawer as she went out, she arrived home to
reprobation that would only disappear if she held it tenderly
by the trigger and dry-fired it into her mouth.

On the morning of her thirty-ninth birthday, though,
Madison entered the gun shop of her cousin Andy
looking for a new holster just as he was unpacking
assault rifles. She flushed and her eyes grew wide when
he thrust the stock of one into her hands.

Sadly, her handgun caught her sneaking the new rifle
into the house that day through the back door, and before
she could voice an excuse, put two into her traitorous heart.

The gun waited patiently for the cops to arrive,
confident it would soon enough find a new owner to love.

Tom reads "A Love Story":

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Tom confesses: "The passion some people feel for their guns seems to transcend the love a hobbyist has for his tools. Discount it if you might, but there is something tender in their way they handle their weapons, the way they need to feel the steel, the way the two of them find release with a pull of the trigger."

TOM BARLOW is an Ohio writer whose work has appeared in journals including The Stoneboat Literary Journal, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, Harbinger Asylum, Heron Clan, The Remington Review, Your Daily Poem, and many more. See more at

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