I don’t know what it is. Something about
the set of his shoulders, the curve of his neck, but
he’s suddenly older. A far cry from the baby who
wriggled and wept as the scissors snipped
round his ears, he sits in sombre silence, eyes fixed
on the mirror. I watch the back of his head.
From time to time he pulls a hand out from under
the black cape (“like Batman!” I’d cajoled hopelessly once,
waving the comics and sweets brought as bribery),
brushes away a stray hair from his nose or chin,
the briefest movement, because he knows to stay still.
He still turns, though, from the heat of the dryer.
At the end, she takes a mirror and shows him the back,
as she would with a man, and he nods,
in a sage sort of way, for all the world as though he’s had
in his short life a hundred haircuts, some good, some bad.