Haircut in Bologna

posted Apr 12, 2016

Never fight with your girlfriend
on the way to a train station in Italy;
you’ll wind up getting a haircut in Bologna.
You’ll sit your two daughters down
and make them watch you
talk to a Moroccan barber.
And those haircuts always start off
with such potential.
You tell yourself he’s been
waiting for just your type
of receding hairline
and he’s going to nail it
like no other barber has ever nailed it.
But the sad fact is,
his rent is twice what he can pay,
he’s fasting and hasn’t eaten
all day, and his wife will
never forgive him for dragging her
to this foreign city.
He’s got gel webbed between
his fingers as he speaks,
and he’s lifting your thin hair
heavenwards as your daughters
hide their laughing faces
and really now, it’s between you and him,
this moment of admiration
for his work, shared in a grayish mirror:
Just the two of you, staring blandly forwards,
waiting for the other to speak first.

Matt Marinovich is the author of The Winter Girl: A Novel.

His work has appeared in Sonora Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency , Juked, Smokelong Quarterly, Mississippi Review, and other publications.