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Thereís something wonderfully sweet about a wife cutting a husbandís hair, and Bruce Guernsey, who lives in Illinois and Maine, captures it beautifully in this poem.

—TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006


poem from American Life in Poetry
by Bruce Guernsey


For My Wife Cutting My Hair

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.






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