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1.2 C
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
POEM: An ode to my barber, Fernando

Mike Keenan
Special to The Lake Report
                        

He greets me warmly 
at the door, 
steers me 
to the swivel chair, 
asks about my health,
wraps me 
in white cloth, 
removes glasses
from my nose.

Not too much off the top; 
It’s cold as hell out there.

I laugh at my own joke 
for it’s a barren patch. 
There’s little left to mow—
no need for clippers; 
scissors slowly snip 
and fuss 
about my scalp, 
as the soft sound of butterflies
dance through the air.

At times like this, 
I would change my sex —
dream of bangs 
that droop towards my nose,
perhaps a domelike hive 
to startle Freud,
black native braids 
traced down my back,
corkscrew curls 
that dangle like a lure 
in the depths 
of Veronica Lake,
one eye draped 
in silken mystery 
daring men 
to draw near.

Fernando daubs and shapes 
my moustache 
with his brush, 
rubs tonic 
into strands on top, 
anoints my brow 
with talcum, 
then pulls the cape 
with flourish—
sends me off 
like a general 
into war.

I attend 
monthly—
my hair 
a simple sacrament, 
and I will need 
this service 
one last time 
for hair grows 
after death, 
but even as he sweeps 
those scattered 
clusters 
on the floor, 
the threads 
unite and intertwine
and grow again in mass.