“Quit sniveling! Sit still!” And in disgust
he palmed my head like a basketball
and forced it down and buzzed the clippers up
my neck again. Hair sifted down my collar.
I squirmed. He jerked the pink bath towel
tighter against my throat, and hair
flew up and landed in the sugar bowl.
Then gradually, to even out mistakes,
my hair grew shorter, more like stubble,
more like West Point or hot Fort Hood,
where I was born. We saved some money.
But now it’s his turn and he sits,
hands folded on his lap, unsteady,
while I, with tiny scissors, snip
the gray hair curling from his nostrils
and from both ears; and, Jesus, at sixty
the death hairs really get their growth,
don’t they? the scissors pinch his skin
and he tries not to flinch. “Sit still!”
I snarl, and I’m so horrified
I say it one more time. “Sit still.”

:: Andrew Hudgins, The Glass Hammer (Knopf, 1994)

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