The Hairdresser from Beirut

by Rosemary Norman

He’s been here two years.

I wonder if the others ask
as I do not, why he left, or
of all places, why he chose
our well-meaning suburb.

We sit before his mirrors,
him behind, or to one side.
He’s still young, and slim
with a little belly. His hair
curls where it will. I ask
stupidly if he did this job
before he left, then answer
for him, of course, he’s not
had time to learn it here.
 
And that’s enough, surely.
 
If they were willing in Beirut
to leave their hair untended
they would have done so
more than once in his life,
career. But they are not.
 
A friend or enemy will see
to how you look, dead.
Merely endangered
as you are, it’s up to you.
So Anne Frank writes ?
should she bleach the hair
on her upper lip? Once
a woman, and I knew her,
killed herself, her eyebrows
still sore from plucking.