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Tom Barlow

I Know a Woman

                A haibun after Robert Creeley

The Red-Haired Girl by Helene Schjerfbeck

As I sd to the waitress working the counter,
because I’m that kind of asshole—Jean, I
sd, reading her nametag, the sun’ll explode in
8 billion years and we’ll all be burned to ash
but this toast, this toast has beat us both there.

she shrugged the night shift & unpaid bills, sick
kids sore feet & the darkness. so leave, she sd,
for christ’s sake, there’s a Waffle House
across the street they never close at least, not
until the sun explodes. As she cleared our table,
she sd, can’t come too soon for me.

a rose trailed across her cheek
the petals then
the thorns


About the writer:
Tom Barlow is an Ohio writer of novels, short stories and poetry whose work has appeared in journals including Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, New York Quarterly, Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more.

Image: The Red-Haired Girl by Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946). Oil on canvas. 14.7 x 14.3 inches. 1915. Public domain.

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