Henry at the Hair Salon
My 14 years’ son sits in salons
admiring himself, discussing intently
his intentions with cowlicks
and product and natural wave.
I indulge this vanity.
Not like my own mother
who saw but did not see my brother
longing for attention, accessories,
even makeup– Bowie his idol,
Halloween his favorite night.
Pinks plaids earrings hats clogs!
He never found enough.
Now his young doppleganger searches
the mirror for clues how to be.
How to live in fair skin and pride.
How to be earnest, intimate.
Years earlier, kids had shouted,
I assured him that’s not a bad thing and he cried,
Mom, guys my age know that’s a diss… Am I so unlikable?
Idiots, I had hissed.
The stylist takes up her blow-dryer,
drowning this memory,
teaching my young teen
how to manage hefty curls.
Later, he puts his arm around me,
his graying mom, and smirks:
She said I have good genes.
Alexandra Beers is an MFA candidate at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also a teacher and Learning Specialist in Brooklyn, NY, where she lives with her family. Originally from Washington, DC, Alex has participated in workshops at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Frost Place, and Maine Media College. She was a Tupelo Press 30/30 poet, and her work has been published or is forthcoming in Exit 7, BabyMama, and Here/There:Poetry.