He shaves his jaws every Friday morning during a gap; nine slides into ten.
It is at this between-hour that he soaps and lathers his chops
at the squared white sink in the downstairs female bathroom of
a dark red brick building whose crenellations seem to me
to have jutted up from sacred Mali.
A bathroom is a choking space, too easily do slide from walls
the trappings of human excess, while cold white tiles do little to
persuade us that we are not indeed inside a warm and living form.
And each Friday, at this sliding hour, his low-pitched wooded smell
accords with the putrid delicate variations and shifting harmonious
bands of female vanitas and shame.
It is I who am waiting in line behind you, old man, who am
holding in hope and wavering at the edge of the fir green fabric
at the edge of your darkened skin. A deep round scar, no bigger than
a five cent piece, at the fold of your right eye, alabaster soap and dark
hands, life-darkened like my father's hands, they too have been lathed too
often, by thin - one might even say innocent - blades of time and
solid matter, to ever come clean again.
I have felt the possible weigh upon me.
I have seen the becoming-spherical of the object.
I have been shown its curving-away face.
There is noise now. The scraping blade in the sliding hour whose,
for a fifty odd of Fridays and all the ones that count, metal has done
battle against persistent sons who rise are mowed who rise again.
I hear them all.
published in Belleville Park Pages 11