Two Poems

Somebody’s Got My Hair


Somebody’s got my hair, I said to my lover, who stood in front of the mirror in a long white t-shirt brushing out her thick black hair. The silver brush glinted. I touched my head again and again, nothing but craggy dome and small patches of stubble over my ears. I felt a little tired and weak without my hair. How could I go out into the street as a bald man? “When’s the last time you had your hair?” she asked. “Try to remember where you were.” I could imagine myself with thick wavy brown hair, but I couldn’t picture myself in a particular place. She put the brush down and came back to the bed, pressing her palm against my forehead. “No fever, no hair—did you lose it somewhere?” “No, it’s hair; it’s goes with me everywhere.” She removed her hand. “Is it possible that someone from the office stole it while you were napping?” She looked deeply into my eyes, probing for the truth. “I don’t work in an office,” I said; “I don’t work at all.” “Did you possibly sell it to someone?” I shook my head. She knew I would never sell my hair. Was she trying to help or ridicule me? She got up and began searching through my drawers and the closets. “No sign of your hair anywhere, not even a single strand.” I rose from bed and got dressed. She kissed me on the top of my head. “I fell in love with a bald man, not a man who has brown wavy hair.” I smiled and kissed her back, though I knew she was in love with someone else.







On Pleasant Street near the diner, a policeman catches up to me. “Please stop, sir,” he said. I looked into his broad face, his chin fringed with blond fuzz.

“Have I done something, officer? Littered? jaywalked?” He shook his head. Then I thought about it for a second. “Are you selling tickets for the policemen’s benefit? I’m happy to contribute a few dollars.”

“Nothing like that at all,” he laughed. “I just want to hang out with you for a while, be your friend.”

“Sorry, officer, I said, “I’m very busy today. Maybe some other time.” He frowned, then pulled out his ticket pad and began writing. “What am I getting a ticket for? I demanded to know.

“Just taking a few notes,” he said. “A blue bird flew out of the diner door. I think it may have been an indigo bunting.” A moment later, he sighted another unusual bird on the roof of the vacuum cleaner shop. He pointed at it. “That’s an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, I’m sure of it. Very rare,” he said.

To me the chubby bird looked like a pigeon, but I’m no bird expert. “Thanks for the ornithology lesson,” I said and started to walk away, but he placed his hand gently on my forearm.

“Not so fast,” he said and in one quick motion cuffed his wrist to mine. “Where to now?” he asked.

Unsure of what I would do with a police officer cuffed to my wrist, I guided us to the police station. “I’d like to report a police officer handcuffed to my wrist,” I said to a young woman at the front desk.

She excused herself for a moment and returned with the Chief. He smiled at the police officer. “So you’ve found yourself a new friend,” he said. “Good work, Jim.”

Then to me, he said, “Sir, this is not a crime; it’s community outreach.

He nodded at the police officer attached to my wrist. “Book him.”

The officer led me through a door to the back of the station. “One of our best rooms, he said, uncuffing me and locking me into a cell.

A small bird flew overhead.  “A canary?” I asked.

“No, a finch,” he said. He pointed to a container of pellets. “Don’t forget to feed him.”



Jeff Friedman has published six poetry collections, five with Carnegie Mellon University Press, including Pretenders (2014), Working in Flour (2011) and Black Threads (2008). His poems, mini stories and translations have appeared in American Poetry ReviewPoetry, New England Review, The Antioch ReviewPoetry International, Hotel Amerika, Flash Fiction Funny, Plume, Agni Online, The New Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poets, Smokelong Quarterly, and The New Republic and many other literary magazinesHe has won numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, and two individual artist grants from the New Hampshire State Arts Council. Dzvinia Orlowsky’s and his translation of Memorials by Polish Poet Mieczslaw Jastrun was published by Lavender Ink/Dialogos in August 2014. He also collaborated with Nati Zohar on a book of translations of Israeli poets: Two Gardens: Modern Hebrew Poems of the Bible, published by Singing Bone Press in 2016. Friedman’s seventh book, Floating Tales—a collection of prose poems, fables and mini tales—is forthcoming from Plume Editions/MadHat Press in fall 2017.

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