Basement Barber

Here were said the words men say.
The oil stove winked its slit black eye;
it knew they did not have their way.

A whitetail made for the edge of the page.
Vitalis came before the talc.
My father's dark hair began to fade.

Barrelhead Thurman palmed my scalp,
knuckled my ear when he was done
just to hear a little boy yelp.

They rode, hats off, through years of lies
on bus seats the county junked,
out-fished, out-hunted the ones who'd died.

My father's dark hair began to fade.
The oil stove winked its slit black eye.
It knew he did not have his way.

The dead grow long and beautiful hair.
They have said what they had to say
to stir that basement's damp, sweet air.

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