Delilah's Father Takes Her to the Barber Shop
Katherine Hoerth is the author of a poetry collection, The Garden Uprooted (Slough Press, 2012). Her work has been included in journals such as Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, BorderSenses, and Front Porch. She teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Texas Pan American and serves as Assistant Poetry Editor of Fifth Wednesday Journal.
My father threw his hands up in defeat.
Perhaps it had become too much for him—
the nightly fight to pull out every snarl,
occasional entangled piece of gum,
or maybe how sometimes I'd hide my eyes
behind that golden lamb's wool veil of hair
whenever I just couldn't face the world.
He took me to the barbershop between
the hardware and liquor stores on Main,
and Frank, same man who shaved my father's head
on Sunday evenings, lifted me into his barber chair
and pumped it towards the sky. I closed my eyes
and felt rough fingertips against my nape,
the naked skin always concealed beneath
my hair the wind blew wild. The scissors shut.
The weight fell from my shoulders to the floor.
When it was done, my father lifted me
out from the chair, and all around my feet
laid iridescent rings of gold in slants
of that late summer's blond hued afternoon.
I couldn't bear to throw them in the trash.
Instead, we tossed what burdened and what pained
us both into the night's breeze, let the bane
become a blessing to a clutch of birds.