Tom Barlow (Colours of Love and Barriers)

Tom Barlow
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, The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more. See more at

Break It Down

After the cake is cut, the bouquet thrown, 
the toasts made, the bride watches as her
grandparents kiss. She detects tongue action. 

OMG, she whispers to her new husband, aren't 
they too old for all that? Too old for TikTok, for 
cleavage, for high heels, hookups, drag shows 

and tattoos and man buns and sex on the beach 
so why can’t they stick to counting out their pills 
and watching afternoon TV? They should

leave lust to the young where it can't be stopped.
Just look, she whispers, her skirt is too short 
to hide her varicose veins and his eyes are glued 

to the maid of honor's ass. And now he has his hand 
on Grandma's thigh under the table. Have they no 
sense of shame? The bride holds her breath then as 

her grandparents rise, whisper a request to the DJ, 
and when the first licks of James Brown's "Sex Machine" come over the loudspeakers, they take to the dance floor 
and break it down.

The room goes nuts.

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