It isn't difficult. Things explain themselves.
Settling into the chair, when I hear "main"
After a moment I work arms into this colorful sheet's sleeves.
In French I tell him I know little French.
Having rehearsed it on the Métro, "Court, mais non trop court" I speak,
And glance at the window's reassuring "Six Euros."
The Algerian's clippers like a toy lawnmower travel my skull's contours
With noise and some roughness so adroitly
That I actually relax.
Brown fingers insert a silvery new blade
He selects like a surgeon
Into the tool for sideburn ingenuity.
Humming accompaniment to music
From his radio's ethnic station
Quietly and briefly, when a woman steps in to speak at length
He converses without abandoning me.
In the mirror I follow the barber's
Cupped palms annoint my head with oil
Which runneth over a bit.
Then the tall barber dips
To blow clinging hairs off the back of my neck,
His warm breath melting me so completely that to the dictionary I compile
Of words which no longer have meaning, I consign "problem,"
Believing even away from Paris I will not need it.