Dorothy Bendel and Sukia

Inspiration piece


What to Look Out For When Cutting an Old Man’s Hair
By Dorothy Bendel


She warned me not to go outside

to cut my grandfather’s hair:

Birds would dip into

the pile of silver and white hairs

with their thieving,

fine honed beaks

to pluck the choice fluff

from the oil-stained concrete driveway

and bury the prize in their nests,

cursing him with headaches.


You’re making that up,

I said.


What did birds have against this man?

Could they break through

the wall of years

like fleet spies,

these feathered agents

of almighty judgement?


Could they tuck whiskey glasses,

raised voices,

and army-issued scars

beneath their exquisite wings?

Would they wait for the years

to unfurl from a wheelchair

and fall into their open mouths,

to knot them with twigs,


until they snapped?


They must not have known

that they could have saved their flight

for another

and watched from above

from the safety of the sky,

while he spotted the planes that passed

and she stood by

with a broom in her hand.



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One Comment

  1. Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm | #

    The poem works in spades for me.