Let’s Trim Our Hair in Accordance with the Socialist Lifestyle

by Kenan Ince

My love, I will hold
your large bun as I pare
it into a Kim Il-Sung
bouffant. I am a sculptor
like the one who used to
free hedgehogs or lions
from the bushes
on my family’s grounds.

I cannot say I never miss
that waste of water. As a girl
I loved to leap through
the hose’s spray, my untamed
hair spraying droplets in rows
in every direction. The water
trickled into little streams
below the gardens, running off
to somewhere, we guessed,
we had no idea. We did not know
what our waste would
bring to bloom. We could not
uproot the explosion of red
flowers that bloomed
on the hillside.

My comrade: our Dear Leader
says long hair drains
nutrients from the brain.
You must keep
your hair short
and your thoughts
simple. Fix your eyes
on me. Look:
I am cut down
to something
essential. I am shorn
of the bulb of attachment
that haloed my younger
body. I am free.

The teenager next door keeps leaving things on your welcome mat: chipped marbles, a mason jar half-filled with pesto, a pack of scented pencils. You figure it’s time to return the gesture.   Choose a gift for your neighbor:

A sour-apple elegy.
Cassette tapes.
A shade-gifting tree.