Haircuts

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The children cut their hair today

shearing a chunk from the front

delighting in the sound

of scissors, exulting in the power

of controlling their destiny.

In secret initiation

they crept into their room,

solemnly cut a lock

from each head.

I discovered it at dinner

suddenly noticing

those twin gaping holes.

Right away, they confessed.

I wanted to laugh, squeeze them,

tell them I did it too

when I was a little girl.

But I bit my tongue

tried to act stern.

They were waiting to see

if I would crack,

watching for even the hint of a smile

so they could stop pretending

to be penitent.

I knew if I laughed

they would sneak away tomorrow

and gleefully return with shorn heads

bewildered at my horror.

So I told them not to do it again.

But tonight I went looking

for those precious locks

fallen in a secret corner

of childhood.

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