For My Wife Cutting My Hair

By Bruce Guernsey Bruce Guernsey
You move around me expertly like the good, round
Italian barber I went to in Florence,
years before we met, his scissors
a razor he sharpened on a belt.

But at first when you were learning, I feared
for my neck, saw my ears like sliced fruit
on the newspapered floor. Taking us back in time,
you cleverly clipped my head in a flat-top.

The years in between were styles no one had ever seen,
or should see again: when the wind rose
half my hair floated off in feathers,
the other half bristling, brief as a brush.

In the chair, almost asleep, I hear the bright
scissors dancing. Hear you hum, full-breasted as Aida,
carefully trimming the white from my temples,
so no one, not even I, will know.

Poem copyright ©2011 by Bruce Guernsey, whose most recent book of poems is “New England Primer,” Cherry Grove Collection, 2008. Reprinted from the Spoon River Poetry Review, Vol. XXXV, No. 2, Summer/Fall 2010, by permission of Bruce Guernsey and the publisher.

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Poet Bruce Guernsey

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Midlife, Growing Old, The Body, Relationships, Men & Women, Love, Realistic & Complicated


Poet, teacher, and editor, Bruce Guernsey graduated from Colgate University 1966. He later earned MAs from the University of Virginia and The John Hopkins University and a PhD from the University of New Hampshire.
Bruce Guernsey’s quiet, observant poems draw vividly upon the nature of his surroundings in the Northeast—and later Midwest—United States. In an interview with poet Diane Lockward, Guernsey notes how the move from . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Midlife, Growing Old, The Body, Relationships, Men & Women, Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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