Barber

By Larry Bradley Larry Bradley
Learn from the man who spends much of his life speaking
             To the back of your head knowing what it means to follow

The razor’s edge along a worn strop or random thoughts
             As they spring so invisibly from the mind to a mouth

Who shouldered soldiers in two wars and fled fire fields
             Undecorated who fathered once but was fatherless forever

And who works his sentiments in deeper into your scalp
             Under a sign on the knotty-pine walls whose rubric reads

quot homines, tot sententiae which means he sees
             In you his suffering smells of horehound tonics and gels

Pillow heads and powders and a floor full of snippings
             Swept neatly every evening into a pile for the field mice

All those roundabout hours only a man who fixes his tie
             To clip crabgrass crowding a lady’s grave could believe

With a certain clean devotion and who would never for one
             Moment dream of hurting you when your back was turned

Source: Poetry (November 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2010
 Larry  Bradley

Biography

Larry Bradley’s poems have been published in The New Republic, Paris Review, Poetry Northwest, and in the online journal Blackbird. Frequently elegiac, his work is rich with alliteration and shows a deep knowledge of, and reverence for, natural landscapes. His awards include the New Millennium Writings Award. 

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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