Shearing Season

for Carlos Hernandez, on February 13th

come here, my curly-headed ram
come lean against my belly, in trust
and in full blissome, give the blossom
of your head unto my shears

tentative at first, then all too ardent
my bladework leaps alive at you
you sit and hum your secret smile
content to barter proficiency for intimacy

then shall I lop at you and chop at you!
hack and whack and saw at you!
snip and clip and rip at you–and only when
I’m through, will I run my fingers
warm over your skull, and shake
your loosened winterfall away

the day before this day, I play
at mourning: extoll the thing
I must, by your request, annihilate
your medusa mane of brown and gray

I tug your curls taut, then let them sproing
and sproinging, think of spring
as you scrub the shrub about your ears
eager to be tidy, greedy to be clean

now shorn, my ram, you move to get the broom
I wrap the clippers and reset the room
you stop me in the middle, as if by chance
“ah, my kindness!” you whisper, and we dance

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