It was the year the townsfolk
shaved off their hair
believing that bad thoughts were
getting trapped in it.
The hairstylists were banned
from the area. The grey-winged
hens of Palawy laid their eggs
all around the town.
After school, I worked my way home
through hair-drifts. My grandmother
acquired the strange habit of tearing away
the last page of my school compositions.
She assured me that one day
I would understand why. My grandfather
often said that she intended to tear away
the last page of his life.
He left her and started floundering
through the side-streets of women’s hair.
Unhatched chickens laughed at him
from inside their speckled eggshells.
I was advised not to mention my parents
either at school or at home.
“You’ll learn to forget,” my teacher
comforted me. “You’ll live a good life.”
Anatoly Kudryavitsky has published three collections, Shadow of Time (Goldsmith, 2005), Morning at Mount Ring (Doghouse, 2007) and Capering Moons (Doghouse, 2011), as well as A Night in the Nabokov Hotel, an anthology of contemporary Russian poetry in English translation (Dedalus, 2006), Bamboo Dreams, an anthology of Irish haiku (Doghouse, 2012), and three novels. His latest novel, Disunity, has been published in England by Glagoslav Publications (2013). He lives in Dublin, Ireland, where he edits Shamrock Haiku Journal.