Day Fourteen: ‘Haircut Duke’

April 15, 2015

Today we bury Haircut Duke, who cut hair
the way an adolescent boy cuts first
into his own birthday cake, trembling with
nervous energy. We loved him all the same.
We wore our mangled scalps in the daylight
for him, for his son in Salamanca we’d never met.
(He’s over there, the bald man at the oak tree.)
Duke’s last clip was his memoir — a two-blade swipe
above the left ear, then straight down to the floor.
Heart failure. The doctors in the waiting chairs
couldn’t do a thing. The end for Duke among
his best customers: the winos, the surgeons, the shipping guys,
all four Tomasso brothers, Eddie from Sears,
and even the six-fig college basketball coach.
All marched with close-cropped cuts into the sun
for decades. And Duke now enters his own Hall of Fame.

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