The Haircut

It was her idea

for him to be standing half naked in front of the bathroom mirror


she snipped off a sprig of hair

that’d been bugging her since their 3rd date

he grimaced

and wondered

why they couldn’t just have gone to the movies

she worked to hack away the last 5 months

wanting to locate

the promising roots of a love

that got tangled

by infidelity


she cut a few inches off the top

so that his blue eyes were

trained on her now

she took her time around his ears

when she noticed his balled fists

“do you want me to cut anymore off the top?”

he shook his head

“looks good”

he loved her

but she could be stubborn

and unreasonable

like when she scolded him for cheating on her in a dream

and wouldn’t talk to him for three days

off went the sideburns

and he winced

when he saw the white where his tan ended

but she was busy marveling at

a mole the size of a quarter

black as oil

that she’d never before seen

“hello there!”

she said

running her index finger

along its contours

and beaming

like she’d discovered an island

as of yet unclaimed.

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4 thoughts on “The Haircut

  1. Miranda Stone says:

    There is so much going on in this poem, Ian–it’s very powerful in a subtle way. The tension is almost palpable. While reading the poem, the biblical story of Samson and Delilah came to mind, when Delilah cuts Samson’s hair and robs him of his strength. And I detected a bit of ambiguity regarding the man’s infidelity. Early in the poem you write that he’s undergoing this shearing due to his infidelity, but then later on, you cast doubt on the woman’s rationality, since she held a dream of his against him for three days. Was the man actually unfaithful, or is he enduring this punishment as a result of the woman’s irrational jealousy? I’m not saying this is a question that needs to be answered in the poem–I think some ambiguity is good, leaving room for interpretation on the part of the reader. Very well done, Ian!

    • I love your reading of this Miranda! Thank you for the tremendous feedback. Yeah I kinda didn’t have a roadmap when I wrote this one, but I’m glad the tension came across. That was my intention. And yes again, the ambiguity was on purpose. I sort of wanted to suggest that she’s maybe a little bit mad at this point. Sort of the way relationships drive everyone mad at times. 😉

  2. Taylor Eaton says:

    Oh my goodness. Lovely and heartbreaking in all the right ways. So subtly done. Nice control and pacing.

  3. thanks Taylor! Very kind of you to say.

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