Friction–Tom Barlow

My father polished the gold of his
wedding ring with rough sweat and
coal dust until his finger shone like
an emperor’s.

On her hands and knees, my mother,
armed with her can of Comet,
scrubbed through porcelain
and saved our family’s lives.

I write with a pen that scratches
along the paper line and on
rare occasion, reveals an insight
that corrects the course of my life.

Friction stops the world from
spinning away, it sparks stars into
grandeur and holds our hand as we
stumble along from crib to grave.

Yet its gifts always come at a price.
Our feet drag through the snow and
the wind scours our harrowing tracks
for the wild and beautiful truths.

The closer we come to freezing
to death, the greater the brilliance.

Tom Barlow
‘s work has appeared in journals including They SaidPlainSongs, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, Aji, The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more.