The Man Who Cuts My Hair

The Man Who Cuts My Hair

The man who cuts my hair
cuts his mother’s hair,
grown long in the pandemic.
In her home’s quiet kitchen,
with black gown, comb
and scissors from the shop,
his deft hands trace her shape
after thirty years of slow
and careful intimacy.
Does he see
beneath its silver edge,
the accretion of her spots of age,
her skin’s shifting tension,
as he kneads her tiny shoulders,
has he felt the recession of her frame,
the nearly imperceptible shrinkage
in her chair?

As he cuts, the smell
of baking bread
fills every inch of air,
heavy as perfume,
tickling the nose and throat
with hunger—
In his native Sicily, they say,
Mancia càudu e vivi friddu,
Eat hot and drink cold.

Later at the table wiped clean,
They will eat this bread
along with her branzino,
seared in olive oil, caper, lemon.
They will sit beside each other
and the wine will be deliciously cold,
and the meal will be deliciously hot,
and their chairs and the room
will be filled with each other.

Jefferson Singer

Photo: Guus Baggermans on Unsplash

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