Eddie Priest’s Barbershop & Notary
-Kevin Young

Closed Mondays

is music is men
off early from work is waiting
for the chance at the chair
while the eagle claws holes
in your pockets keeping
time by the turning
of rusty fans steel flowers with
cold breezes is having nothing
better to do than guess at the years
of hair matted beneath the soiled caps
of drunks the pain of running
a fisted comb through stubborn
knots is the dark dirty low
down blues the tender heads
of sons fresh from cornrows all
wonder at losing half their height
is a mother gathering hair for good
luck for a soft wig is the round
difficulty of ears the peach
faced boys asking Eddie
to cut in parts and arrows
wanting to have their names read
for just a few days and among thin
jazz is the quick brush of a done
head the black flood around
your feet grandfathers
stopping their games of ivory
dominoes just before they read the bone
yard is winking widowers announcing
cut it clean off I’m through courting
and hair only gets in the way is the final
spin of the chair a reflection of
a reflection that sting of wintergreen
tonic on the neck of a sleeping snow
haired man when you realize it is
your turn you are next

From Most Way Home, published by Zoland Books,
an imprint of Steerforth Press of Hanover, New Hampshire.
Copyright ©1995 by Kevin Young.