Timothy Shea Larkin Shaving
Slowly, like a rain-soaked branch in wind,
he limps into the toilet and eyes himself in the mirror –
cheeks a white pear or swollen purse;
champagne’s electric kiss fresh on his lips.
He cracks the large-print bible’s tight binding,
and a fat smudge of crows, provided for
and unwanting, flips and settles outside on the lawn.
A splash of warm water and the pores open.
Half-pleasure, half-rite, he spreads the foam
as if mapping a route for God through a pass
in the jaw line, cutbacks over the Adam’s apple.
His stiff bristles soften like the church tasters
at St Stephen’s, sitting quiet in their pews.
He will make the rough smooth. He will bow his back
to rinse his face. He will put his mouth to water.
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