A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2007, vol 3 no 1

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Patricia Prime

Barber Shop

chrome lid
the bell on his bike

A red, white and blue striped pole heralds the barber's shop. With three boys in the family I take them every six weeks for a "short, back and sides". It isn't a haircut as such but a "clip": cold steel, snicking scissors and sharp comb. The leather chair raised or lowered to suit man or boy, the sheeted victim in the neck-tied cape, half surplice, half cope. The one-room shop is owned by Arnie Leggins, who gathers the cut locks in pan and brush and secretes them behind a panel in the wall. For what purpose, we don't know. Arnie unshaven, hair untrimmed, spectacles on the end of his nose, remarks on the boys' sturdiness, their plumpness, pinches their arms between thumb and forefinger. Almost like the witch in "Hansel and Gretel", trying them out for readiness. The loose hairs blow across the floor and out into Arnie's tiny kitchen, where a Garibaldi biscuit awaits the boys when their trims are finished.

behind the parlour
in the weed strewn garden
howl of a black dog