BOY WITH HIS HAIR CUT SHORT
Sunday shuts down on the twentieth-century evening.
The El passes. Twilight and bulb define
the brown room, the overstuffed plum sofa,
the boy, and the girl’s thin hands above his head.
A neighbor radio sings stocks, news, serenade.
He sits at the table, head down, the young clear neck
watching the drugstore sign from the tail of his eye;
tattoo, neon, until the eye blears, while his
solicitous tall sister, simple in blue, bending
behind him, cuts his hair with her cheap shears.
The arrow’s electric red always reaches its mark,
successful neon! He coughs, impressed by that precision.
His child’s forehead, forever protected by his cap,
is bleached against the lamplight as he turns head
and steadies to let the snippets drop.
Erasing the failure of weeks with level fingers,
she sleeks the fine hair, combing: “You’ll look fine
You’ll surely find something, they can’t keep turning you
the finest gentleman’s not so trim as you!” Smiling, he
the adolescent forehead wrinkling ironic now.