Issue Forty-One - Winter 2023

Shaving the Ghost

By Jay Klokker

An old man nicks his chin shaving and hears
his dead father sigh, sees his father’s hand
search the cabinet for the fat styptic pencil
that got dumped in the trash fifty years ago.

The man wishes he had that pencil now
and could chalk his bloody chin white
instead of rubbing it numb with an ice cube
and getting stuck with a toilet paper goatee.

The man remembers when his father turned
away saying What’s wrong with you?
But the eyes in the mirror, the deep-set eyes
the man inherited, crinkle at the corners
when he waggles his chin. Hi Dad, he says,
and watches his father’s eyes laugh.

Copyright Klokker 2023