As boys we never
said I love you to
one another, but in the summer
days beneath the sounds
of mom frying chicken
with the smells of green beans and bacon
slipping through the windows
we cut each other’s hair.
The clippers electric buzz shook our hands
as one boy sat on a five gallon bait bucket
shirt off in the heat
while the other boy held down ears
hands against scalp, wrists
brushing skin, the back of the neck
tan fading along thin shoulders.
We shaved mohawks and patterns
ran barefoot into the house to hide
the clippers, the footsteps and yells
the snap-swing of the screen door
always close, always near
a chaotic melody to the steady rhythm
of old men mowing lawns, solitary
like steers put out to pasture.
Back on the concrete porch
white paint peeling, we always returned
apologies shrugged off, buoyant
in our bodies and the breeze
as the hair fell beneath one boy’s touch
and we became light enough
to float away, the fluff of a cattail
coasting on the water’s edge.
Originally published by the Dunes Review in their Winter 2012 issue.