The Barber

1. His Day

In his chair he sleeps,
Narcissus of scissors,
infinitely framed
in the tall shop mirrors.

Arranged in his shelf:
Wild Root, Vitalis
where talcum hints
rigor corporalis.

The tools of his craft
lie still where he snores,
sharp as a quill
or Ockham's razor.

2. The Barber at Twilight

The shop is closed
the lights are down
the chair he sat in
like a burnished throne
stands empty now,
and avenue crowds
slowly appear
in evening air
as the barber stares
from his upstate room
as night descends.

3. The Barber in Ecstasy

The magazine drops
by the bedside stand.
His hand, pensive,
strays across his thigh.
You're lovely, lovely,
the barber's voice whispers.
He tucks the naked
pillow to his side.

4. His Dream

Emerging from the tunnel, he enters
the garden where the goddess of wine,
raven-haired Siduri, pours him a tall one:
Day and night, day and night, feast and rejoice . . .
The barber lies down in the tall flowers
of heaven, as if there were no going home.

:: Daniel Tobin, in Cumberland Poetry Review, spring 1994

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