Ashleigh Young

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My hairdresser and my heart

My hairdresser, he’s not a beautiful man
        or not in the way you were, blatantly
             but he’s very nearly symmetrical, which
        is this year’s definition of beauty
        and he has quick hands the colour of matches
             a shirt of flame-whiteness
             and a bitchin’ military-styled
        apron. Is he in love,
             is he hetero or gay; is he green, does he
        give cyclists room? It’s impossible to know
what he’s like when he doesn’t know
where to stand in relation to you or
what to do with his hands.
He moves about my head with grace
and urgency, as if deactivating
a bomb
like Kip at the end of The English Patient
the greatest love story of all time.
All women deserve to be carried out of a desert cave
by a crying man, to be billowed all around by a sheet.
Well I hate my head at the hairdresser: big and blotted
knoll on a hill, knot in a curtain.
A head that belongs on a pillow only
besides which you used to tell me softly
I wasn’t that ugly.
        My fringe is snowing slowly
             but I feel I’m catching fire.
        The way we let them touch us, it’s not right is it?
             I don’t unplug myself the way you told me to
                so when my hairdresser presses down
             on my shoulders, my heart jumpstarts
        and when I leave the salon
I almost go out looking for you.

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