I finally seen
my father
to my surprise
at a Wal-Mart
hair salon,
with my son
beside, blinking
in long banes.
I wouldn’t have
recognized him,
until I saw
his name on the
sign in sheet.

He left us over
thirty years ago
when he stepped
out saying he was
going to get a haircut.
And a cut he did.
We were left
with tired fingers
and sharp scissors
that went dull,
after cutting out
pictures of him
from our photo albums.
My mother
emptying out his side
of the closet,
neckties and shoes
kicked to the curb,
8-tracks and records
that once sang
in the sun,
now drowning
in the rain,
the last of my
memories at eight
slipping colliery.

The first few minutes
the hairdresser
started cutting my hair,
pieces of black-gray
memories falling
to the floor,
I began to look like
the younger version
of my father.
The same one when
he came out of the service,
after fighting some war
hugging my mother
with one arm
the other hugging
a bottle of whiskey,
in dull-faded Kodak colors,
one of those instant-to-do
picture cameras.

And it was strange
when we left,
another hairdresser
sweeping up the
remnants of our hair,
and into the garbage
of other hair pieces,
making me think
how many other
fathers that have
abandoned their families
were mixed-up
in that same pail.

Leaving a small tip
for our new hairstyle,
my father stern-faced
and lost in a newspaper
awaiting to be called up
still wouldn’t recognize
us no matter if our
hair was long ago
or just a recent cut,
glasses or beard,
alive or dead.


Anthony Liccione lives in Texas with his two children and serves in the Army. His poems have appeared in several print and on-line journals, including Fashion for Collapse, Apple Valley Review, Gutter Eloquence Magazine, Squawk Back, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Plum Ruby Review and The Stray Branch. His lastest book (Wolf Down) is available from Corrupt Press, and his next book (Symmetry) is forthcoming from Shook Up Press in November.