Clean Shaving

In a barber’s mirror I appear 
much younger though I stopped 
shaving a while ago. Youth is 
overrated, unnecessary; it creeps 
behind on sleek crutches, makes 
me check over my shoulder. 
It shears my clothes apart
at the most inconvenient moments.
See, that’s why there is no youth in afterlife
the barber says. Hereafter is so full of beards 
that clean-shaven people worry they’ll 
miss out on a place among immortals. 
Conversation breaks up when the blade 
hesitates down my neck as if looking 
for an incision mark. Youth-talk makes 
the sharpest of knives doubt itself. 
Knotted hair gets brushed in a dustpan.
Out the door, first left up the High Street, 
I notice a young blade following me. 
I am slowly turning to stone.





© Maria Stadnicka 
Illustration: Claire Palmer

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