Poet's showcase

The Hair Farmer
By Barbara Seaman

"He looks like Jesus," she says,
as her scissors crop stray strands
around my ear. Yes, he could be Jesus.
Hair dark as damp peat and long --
rich as summerfallow.

She talks and snips with equal ease.
"He's a sound engineer, but I call him
the hair farmer." A rumor of hair
brushes my face as it falls. Around my feet
a surfeit, plentiful as weeds.
"We met in a cancer ward for children."

I search his photo for signs, scars, disease,
body betrayals, Jesus pain. But no,
he was there, she says, to entertain. And she --
she was there to tell this story
to me and anyone else in for a trim.
"There was one girl."

I see her. Small in the doorway
of her room, shadow except for a pale pink scalp
crowned with light and two eyes
of stone. She stares at Jesus' bountiful
hair as he swings down the hall.
"I hate you," she says, and means it.

Now. What would Jesus do?
The sound engineer swings on down
the hall, swipes a pair of scissors and in one
whack crops his hair. Hands the whole wavy length
to the resident wigmaker on
the hospital floor.

"Make something for her," he says.
The stylist dusts the trimmings off my neck
and reaches for the broom.
"I fell in love with him right then," she says.
Love (and hair) grew fast as a tumor. They married.
He goes back for harvest every second year.


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