Poem for Christopher Salas, 1964-1997(?)
From the dream world I crossed
into yours to get a haircut,
but it wasn’t that simple.
The first time I saw you was after
I had argued with the barber about
the length of my sideburns
and if such luxuries were permitted in hell.
Then you caught my eye: there you were,
sweeping cut hair of all sorts
into a black plastic dust-bin
with a handsome straw broom;
Your legs were reduced to stumps
and there was a small bump in the floor
where the hair was burnt to ash.
Otherwise, you were young and alive,
wearing a pale-blue sweater vest,
your hair neat as the barber’s son--
I was embarrassed to see you there
seemingly happy in your task
while I had nothing else to do but
leave, hoping to sweat in the cool
fall air of my real world, later,
when the sun cleared the trees.