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Untitled Poem

Patrick Lovatt

on a small bridge arcing to allotments, far from
the compact, office towers that had wilted in
haughty noon, a peach-paint barbershop made me think
“it’s high time I chopped back my tangled mane.” Inside,
a lady cloaking her terrier climbed from the
chair, halfway through a hairdo, and chimed her laughter
with the vested proprietor, who thrust his thumb
to his chest and said: “I am the best shampoo in
this town!” It sounded good to me – 2000 yen,
a hair wash and cut – so I sat since the lady
wanted to watch. Sprinkling water from a jet, ask
ing “yes?” only after the scissor had trimmed and
the clipper had mown, he cut thickets of hair, weed
ing a patio round both of my ears. We joked
on either side of Japanese over the thin
ning lawn atop my head, also because his boast
of shampoo seemed eaten now the lady stood and
had him snap our picture, incomplete. But then, (with
a crescent moon peaked in the glass) he uprooted me
and led past my strewn harvest to a plump, leather
chair, in full view of his muralled wall’s starsandstripes.
Meticulous, adjusting the water, like a
father to my newborn scalp, kneading skin, feeding
its crop while the radio gushed English and I
forgot. By the time he was through, mint sewn in the
pores of my surface, I sprouted, paid him his due
for the best shampoo in this town, then bid them (all
three) adieu! on entering the warmth of the night.


Patrick Lovatt lives and works in London.