Shaving Your Father's Face

Michael Dickman

First I get a father
from some city
of fathers
One with a neck

And with all the tiny bird bones in my fingers carefully tip his chin back into the light like love

     so I can see
     so I can smell

I tell a dirty joke, then drag the steel across the universe
There's nothing better
than shaving your father's face
except maybe
your mother's legs
My bedside manner is impeccable
The white foam
stays white
In the evening
his face attracts moths and women

It's as if his chin is made of Christmas lights, you have to shave the moths and family off

     it takes forever

The wings get all over your fingers
I like to use Merkur Super
platinum coated
You could write on water with it
Rust free
Rost Frei
Made in Germany
so it will
last and last
Shaving my father's face
I'm not shaving
my face
I'm shaving my brain
the gray folds
to get at
the pink parts

Stuffing toilet paper into all the tiny holes I cut so it looks like a field of red flags waving

     paper tulips
     love notes

The universe wants a close shave
it wants its hair
and tight
You could bounce a dime off dad's skin
My hand
on your face can you
feel it
From Flies. Copyright © 2010 by Michael Dickman. Used with permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Poems by This Author

Dead Brother Super Hero by Michael Dickman
You don't have to
Emily Dickinson to the Rescue by Michael Dickman
Standing in her house today all I could think of was whether she took a shit every morning
From the Canal by Michael Dickman
Something breathes
From the Lives of My Friends by Michael Dickman
What are the birds called
Killing Flies by Michael Dickman
I sit down for dinner
My Autopsy (Excerpt) by Michael Dickman
There is a way
Translations by Michael Dickman
My mother was led into the world

Further Reading

Poems about Faces
About Face
by Alice Fulton
Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face
by Jack Prelutsky
by Kate Northrop
The Face Without Makeup
by Victor Hernández Cruz
When We Look Up
by Denise Levertov
Woman in Front of Poster of Herself
by Alice Notley
Poems About Fathers
'The child is father to the man.'
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Last 4 Things [That hard thread]
by Kate Greenstreet
A Boy and His Dad
by Edgar Guest
A Situation for Mrs. Biswas
by Prageeta Sharma
A Story
by Philip Levine
A Story
by Li-Young Lee
American Primitive
by William Jay Smith
Another Country
by Ryan Teitman
Auld Lang Syne
by Jennifer L. Knox
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Confessions: My Father, Hummingbirds, and Frantz Fanon
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
by Sylvia Plath
Descriptions of Heaven and Hell
by Mark Jarman
Do not go gentle into that good night
by Dylan Thomas
by Edgar Guest
Father Outside
by Nick Flynn
Father's Day Cards
from The Princess [Sweet and low, sweet and low]
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World
by Sherman Alexie
Her Father
by Thomas Hardy
How to Be a Lawyer
by Jordan Davis
Inventing Father In Las Vegas
by Lynn Emanuel
Lay Back the Darkness
by Edward Hirsch
Like Him
by Aaron Smith
Man of the Year
by Robin Becker
Meeting with My Father in the Orchard
by Homero Aridjis
My Father
by Scott Hightower
my father moved through dooms of love
by E. E. Cummings
My Father on His Shield
by Walt McDonald
My Father Remembers Blue Zebras
by Judy Halebsky
My Father's Hat
by Mark Irwin
My Father's Leaving
by Ira Sadoff
My Papa's Waltz
by Theodore Roethke
Only a Dad
by Edgar Guest
by William Meredith
by Carl Phillips
Poems about Fathers
Renewal [Excerpt]
by Chris Abani
Separation is the necessary condition for light.
by Brian Teare
Tended Strength: Gifts of Poetry for Fathers
The Ferryer
by Sharon Olds
The Idea of Ancestry
by Etheridge Knight
The Idiot
by Charles Reznikoff
The Portrait
by Stanley Kunitz
The Trouble Ball [excerpt]
by Martín Espada
Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden
To Her Father with Some Verses
by Anne Bradstreet
by Diane Seuss
Whose Mouth Do I Speak With
by Suzanne Rancourt
With Kit, Age 7, at the Beach
by William Stafford
Working Late
by Louis Simpson
by W. S. Merwin