Tranquility – Tom Barlow

The bees are laden with pollen
this time of year. I watch them
labor to rise, to carry their
bounty home. No malaise there,

no sense of opportunities lost,
ninety days doing what they were
born for, a life fulfilled.
Retirement is not part of their

contract, of course, never this
hammock, never these gin rickeys,
never this poolside breeze in Cabo,
never this worry over a letter

from the IRS. My wife obsesses
about the flower garden back home.
That persistent pain behind my knee,
hopefully not a blood clot.

The house needs a new roof, both
cats are fifteen, my brother voted
for Trump, and these bees can
just fly away from it all.

Am I such a sad man as to covet the
vacant mind, the clear sky? Wicked as
I might be, I would never trap such peace
under an empty highball glass, or ten.

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

Leave a Reply