The Shaving Ritual
When I was a child
I dreamt of growing up
And being a “shaver,”
Like my father.
(Only big boys can shave)
I stood with him on Sundays
Tracing my face with his comb
In the mirror
While he traced his with a Shick Injector.
One time I went into the bathroom
And tried some after-shave,
It tingled and felt cool before
The alcohol soaked into my open pores.
When it was time,
I gave up that comb and
He taught me his shaving ritual
First that damned mustache,
Then those cheeks and sideburns,
And finally the underside of the chin.
Being careful to remove all the hairs,
And not to cut myself,
I scraped his blade along my face.
My heavy, anxious hand opened my flesh,
And the aftershave stung
Worse than it ever had,
Finding its way into my wound.
Now, warm water feels clean
On my bristly face.
I dip my shaving brush into the sink
Then my cup, to lather the soap,
Not cream. Soap makes a shave clean.
The sharp Shick Injector with its
Keen blade that can slice those dirty hairs
Off my face with ease. Still it
Glides over my cheeks with some resistance.
Careful to take all those hairs off,
I shave–until my face is bald,
As it was in my innocent youth.
I open the drain.
Watching the shaven hairs stick to
The porcelain bowel of the sink,
Once again,I feel clean.