Poem originally published in Poydras Review
My grandfather, more of a father than my father himself,
taught me to shave before the age of eight.
I was in a rush as always
adding a half or a quarter to my age.
He rubbed the cream between his fingers.
They were cracked and worked
like the earth on the playground.
He was bowlegged from riding the ideal of a cowboy.
I took the mirror seriously
for the first time in Texas
my faced wreathed with a fake beard
as the odor of sandalwood heralded in
a new age.
Two decades and a handful of continents later
I was on the other side of the world
in a chair as usual and not so hurried this time.
The barber sharpened his razor.
And as he applied the acrid lather
the olfactory happiness short-cut back,
and I fell out of the mirror
and into the memory of my ancestors.
I smiled at the mere thought of my grandfather.
“Don’t move or I’ll cut your throat” the barber cried.
-Nostalgia can be fatal if you let it get the best of you.