by James Esch
in the numb plastic beauty pod I sit,
classic rock throbbing underfoot.
Magazine cover queens flutter
like sails on passing ships —
whip thin and soft
as young waxy trees.
I should talk more to the scissor girl
who’s short on conversation
weaving her thin fingers through my curls
her clipper buzzes and I’m six again,
an Italian barbershop,
my skull rattled,
shot behind the ear,
spazzing the nerve — shocked
crazy down the vein
But this clipper doesn’t sting,
too much skin on my skull.
Her fingers pick through my locks,
she doesn’t even ask my name.
Precision sniplets fall on my lap,
a jumble of commas
whose gray is this?
I’m not that old.
it’s someone’s head I borrowed,
Its brittle iron jaw like a thrift store frying pan.
I pay, tip her, slide into the mall.
I’m orbited by constellations.
Alien space junk, spangled speedsternauts
with jet boots, foreign objects stuck in their ears.