Bald Men

By Erica Bernheim

Yes, but winter lasts longest.
Bald men with their frighteningly
massive shapes, etc. Bald men
who wear glasses too small
for their ears. Bald men
with tiny women, dancing. Bald men
carrying home their bean soups,
white bread, slaw, butter,
all the better to meet you with
in the driveway, video games

when you close your eyes
and wish for something green
to save you, be it a moldy crust
or his inexperienced shuffle, or
the palsied hands of love, reaching
ever-sideways, and clutching at
the fearful scent of cod, you sleep
while they rise slowly to feed.

Yes, in bald men the dirt must accumulate
elsewhere, between the flanks of
truffle-seeking pigs, into the perpetually
gaping height of a credenza, wax
and sand and salt, like Bermuda,
that godawful place where things disappear.

They have the look of a hard day,
but would give up their seats on a train,
carry your shopping, and take you home,
nothing is colder than
the other side of that pillow.

You must be careful of what
you will say to them, and never
mention their fathers, not even
as far as they could toss you rough
you up, and other prolonged attentions.

Thoughts of men bald on purpose keep me
wakeful. I go into them, narrowed
with tenderness. I kiss them in bars.
I let them press against me, breathe
into my neck, and will not touch.

The shape of the skull,
so ridged and voluptuous.


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Copyrightę 2003 by Erica Bernheim.

Photo: Erica Bernheim.


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