for Fred Schild
You can look all you want
to the science of sharp edges,
but if you walk round the earth
against the setting sun and never stop,
time might relent in its awful course
and give you time to think.
You’ve tried to do what’s right,
pay your debts, be a man,
but no matter where you turn
you meet the shadow of your father,
and that darkness he bore
becomes more and more your own.
Might as well walk backwards–
and watch him in the mirror,
the razor stropped to a rhythm
that might have been the pounding of your heart.
And the soap slowly brought to a lather,
with those circular movements you memorized
from the time Time began, and how
what looked so impossibly cold
could possibly warm a face.
As he did himself in four smooth strokes,
you watched breathless, eager, scared.
Then he took your small face
in one broad butcher’s hand,
held it to the back of the blade
and wiped you clean.
Alan Walowitz has been published in various places on the web–and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an online journal, and teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in Queens, NY. Alan’s chapbook, Exactly Like Love, was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is in its second printing. For more, go to alanwalowitz.com