She looks things over
and takes her time,
only speaks between the snips.
Her palm on my scalp, she
tilts me to the left then back to the right
and gathers my hair in small, thin sheets.
I appreciate her focused passion,
how she wields her scissors like a brush,
but I am praying she’s no Picasso.
And this one, the one with the spectacles,
she feeds me rumors
and quenches my thirst for gossip.
By the time my head feels new again,
she’s filled me in on a thing or two
about him and her and maybe you.
“Men may be snakes, but that girl there?”
she says, pointing with a comb,
“She’s a mongoose. Rikki-Tikki-Tavvi.”
I nod, pressing my lips together.
I trust her with my hair
but not with my secrets.
And that one? She flirts with me,
tells me little jokes, swats me on the shoulder,
runs her fingers across my scalp.
I know it’s for the tips, but there
for half an hour, I get to pretend,
tell myself that I’ve still got it.
I know I’m not the only one.
I’ve seen the lines, but I still don’t mind.
Everyone needs to feel that way sometimes.
She’s not that good at cutting hair,
but she’s great at what she does,
and for that I’m willing to tip extra.