Sitting at a Barbershop in Firenze

by Thomas Laboucan-Avirom

I am sitting in my chair
Overlooking the barbers
“Roberto’s”
just down my street.
I am up next and pretend
to read a newspaper –
I understand no Italian.
There is an old man in front of me
and the barber cuts his hair.
There is a grimace disguised
as a smile on his old face.
He does not make contact
with his eyes in the mirror.
There is a heavy sadness on him,
as if he is never more old
than when he is in the barbers chair
forced to look at himself.
I think he does not have mirrors at home.
I think age is noble,
but nobler still,
when held without fear.
The barber now trims his eyebrows,
the first time old man has talked.
He closes his eyes,
the small hair falls on the floor,
and I am filled with his sadness.