Each time I stand in front of a mirror,
confronting myself, razor in hand,
|I go through the same old routine
Hot water (as hot as you can stand, my father said),
Just a little too much foam or gel dripping between fingers on my left hand
I smear it across my face, like a little kid
Who hasn't quite grown up.
As I start to scrape away the tough few days of growth
My mind always touches upon the same place and time.
Standing in the Broughshane bathroom in the summer of 89
As I stand guard, feeding the cats and house-sitting.
She's in France with her mother and father.
I'm alone, with the bright August morning outside, with the hot water (as hot as you can stand) and the careful tracing of razor over face begins
Somehow, when steel kisses skin, I'm back there.
Every time I shave, it's that time I shaved.
That house, that bathroom, that morning,
Twenty years ago.
A lifetime of ritual reduced
To a single bittersweet time and place
Anticipating a future that never happened.
(c) Stephen Herron, 2009