Not Long Ago, in a Barbershop Far, Far Away

Jack Kennedy’s portrait with
a small American flag and below that
your two beautiful daughters

a band of tissue around my neck
my glasses, with their amazing
corrective lenses, removed
and you place them aside somewhere
(I never know where)
barber’s cape from neck to knee and
the deep, lulling hum of electric clippers
and you like to talk, first
local politics and gossip, then
a brief survey of your amorous conquests
during the war and after, and
then apropos of nothing you launch
into a diatribe on extra terrestrials
on ‘ET’ as you call them
and on government collusion, conspiracy
as if I am a regular traveler in the
privileged circles of UFO connoisseurs
rubbing elbows with the self-styled experts
I am partly enamored and partly unsettled
by this confidence, this incidental induction
into another world, and I

am kept ever facing away
from the mirror, wondering
what you are doing back there

but, before a gaslight paranoia
can insinuate itself into this tired old mind
the cape comes off and I get my glasses back
(I feel vulnerable without them)
forfeit fifteen of these earthly dollars
take a look in the mirror
it’s a good haircut, you’re a
good barber, no two ways
and through the window, the world looks good too
through these amazing corrective lenses
I picture the planet from space
with UFOs buzzing among the satellites, and
it looks neat and well formed, like
a handsome head with a good haircut

so I leave the shop with a little spring
in my step, to go mingle with
the others of my kind