The barber is someone who creates
by taking away, like a writer
who owns only an eraser.
He is like a construction company
that begins with a large office building
and ends up with a small wooden house.
On the wall is his license,
showing that he’s been to school
and learned of all the varieties
of loss. For this reason
a haircut can make me nervous;
sometimes I close my eyes
and hear only the snip
of the scissors, their two gleaming halves
talking of the balance that is here, the partnership
between this man in a blue smock
and the hairs faithful as rain,
that even before birth and after death
flow tirelessly out of the head
toward the comb and the blade.
(from Dynamite on a China Plate)