Monday, December 6, 2021

Tom Barlow


Worried, his ear folds and slides through the keyhole
to follow her eyes this night after her tongue
has refused his caution and her hands have slammed
the door shut.

It listens to the snap of her heels as she enters the
downtown bar where a virtuoso plays soft piano
Christmas tunes.

Pressed against the window, his ear can hear the
room buzz of diamonds and Cristal, her lips
importuning and the eager response.

His ear follows the grind of her Chevy and the mark's
Beemer into an upscale neighborhood where both
car doors slam at the Georgian with the singing
snowman out front.

His ear squeezes through the mail slot to the great
room where chardonnay is pouring, where their
banter flits around the room like hummingbirds.

His ear wishes then for a finger to block the sound
of her tongue as it surges with the anticipation he has
come to recognize.

He waits for the click of a flick knife to tell him her
hands are at it again.

Tom's YouTube video reading of "Ear Witness":

Subscribe and turn on Notifications for Channel 52.

Tom confesses: "'Ear Witness' was inspired by the underside of our Christmas holidays, where the expectation to celebrate can bring out the worst in us. Who hasn't had to deal with a drunken relative stumbling into the Christmas tree, or a child whose behavior suffers from the pressure of acting good to maximize the loot? Hopefully, no one of your acquaintance will go quite this far, however. Best heed this tip, however-never give weapons for Christmas. "

TOM BARLOW is an Ohio author of short stories, novels and poetry. Many of his best noir short stories have been collected in Odds of Survival, and his crime novel Blood of the Poppy, is available on Amazon. He enjoys visiting the dark in his writings but is grateful he doesn't live there. Learn more at

1 comment:

dave said...

well done, Tom