i was hurrying along court street
my very long hair was blowing in the wind
and trailing behind me
it had become unmanageable.
as if by divine, hairy intervention,
a barber pole appeared on my right
just before i got to state street.

i tapped on the window
peered in
i didn’t see anyone
a dark figure stepped up to the door and the lock clicked open
“are you open?” “yes”
“why was the door locked?”
“to keep unnecessary intruders out.”
i looked at the barber and stepped back in fear
his body seemed to be pure muscle
his hair was very dark and majestic
as if he was a black lion

i tried to think of a reason for exiting
but he led me to a barber chair.
i think i stared at him as if he was a monster
“are you from israel?” “no”
“egypt?” “no”
he put a hairstyle catalogue in my hands
“choose the way you would like to look”
now he stared at me and imitated my questioning
“are you from canada?” “no”
“england?” “no” “usa?” “BINGO”

i chose a medium/short haircut style
that would last several months
the wall in front of us was all mirrored
he worked very quickly, didn’t say a word
each time he finished a section
he held up a small round mirror
for my inspection
it was perfect
he turned the chair around
so i could see the finished cut
“would you like a shave?” “yes”
he picked up a straight razor
and sharpened it on a strop
“oh,no,no,no, i’ve never had that kind of shave.”
“it’s the best”
“are you afraid i will slice off your head” “yes”
“i could have done that already”
“look into my eyes. can you see kindness?”
he brought his face in front of me
and stared into my eyes.”well?”
“you’re not evil.” “but am i kind?”
“i don’t know,
i don’t want
to die in a
barber chair.
i’ll pass. maybe next time.my name is daniel.
what is your name?”
“azizz. it means mighty, powerful, beloved,
and daniel?”
“god is my judge.”

every time i looked in the mirror
to admire Azizz’ handiwork
i smiled.
his touch was magnificent
i decided to visit him every six weeks.
at the end of each cutting he would
smile, “would you like a shave?”
” maybe next time”
just before the holidays i decided i would have
a straight razor shave.
maybe azizz would smile or even laugh aloud.
as i turned the corner at state and court
i could see that the barber pole was gone.
there was a ‘for rent’ sign on the empty shop door,
i stared at the black and white tiles in the entry way,
i ran my fingers over the rusty screw holes
that had held the pole.
i felt deep regret and knew that i had lost
something which i didn’t even understand