LOVE POEM TO MY BROTHER AS HE GIVES MY FATHER A SHAVE

TODD DILLARD

 
 
Bending over the hospital bed,
my brother brings a blade
to my father’s cheek,
hauls its edge across
those iron stalks, erasing
thick froth, dense cream,
rinsing the razor in a pink bowl,
then again, metal pressed
to skin, that sound,
follicle scraped from flesh,
like tearing open
an envelope–its letter
good news–it says
you are alive
and the ones who love you
most are here
, touching
your knuckles, wrist,
as if there grows on the body
a kind of Braille–
and in this way
my brother harvests the past
week, reaps it
from the wildling field
of my father’s cheek,
and who could not help
but fall a little in love
with one so capable
as to be able to cull time
from flesh, a man
who then tenderly presses
a damp towel to the jaw
of another warm and living man
and says, “You look good,”
and does not want
anything in return
besides the next breath
shaped into a “see you
next week.”
 

 

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