Poetry Dispatch No. 190 | September 25, 2007
THE NEW LADY BARBER AT RALPH’S BARBERSHOP by Leo Dangel
She’s in there all right,
cutting hair alongside Ralph.
From California, they say,
young, blonde, and built.
A woman has no business
being a barber, we said.
But soon we saw
how Old Man Brunner walked
back and forth
past the barbershop,
not going in until
somebody was in Ralph’s chair
and hers was empty.
In a month we were all
glancing into Ralph’s window,
timing our haircuts.
being a barber, our wives say.
One thing is dead certain
in this town:
we will never have topless
dancers or massage parlors.
ask what we do for excitement,
we can say we got a lady barber
if your timing is right.
MY FIRST MORNING MILKING by Leo Dangel
I walk to the barn before a sign
of morning. The stars are sparks
in a black sky. Yellow light
from a window is on the blue snow.
Then my father and I
carry the milk pails to the house.
We bend over the sink, our heads
close together, and scoop up water
with our hands to wash our faces.
I smell bacon. The others come
downstairs, rubbing sleepy eyes.
I want to tell them what I know,
the mystery that goes away
when everyone wakes up and the sun
is a cold fire in the east window.
from HOME FROM THE FIELD, Collected Poems, Spoon River Poetry Press, 1997