Anthony Lawrence, Haircut


These days, said the homicide detective
around the stem of a pipe he’d never used
despite the sealed tin of Plumcake tobacco
in his drawer he’d heard was like inhaling
rum and raisins in front of a fire, I like
to give myself a haircut using the pair
of gold scissors I lifted from the scene
of a murder suicide. They are heavy
and difficult to use, but when my hair
is lying below the rhododendron
where I like to sit in shadow and light
you could bottle and scatter years later
to recreate how summer is only a bucket
of stars in the face, I look at myself
in the blades as if searching for evidence
and I bite the stem of the pipe
which makes a sound like the agitation
of a key in a lock before I am called
to adjudicate on how death is either
one thing but never another, such as
what was in the mirror at the time
or what did the ring neck parrot see
but can never repeat? Smoking is just
an excuse to be reckless with time.
I will slip on plastic overshoes and make
my way to where a second victim
had achieved a position not seen since
Torvill and Dean turned contortion
to sculpture on the ice. He was upside-
downsidewaysinsideout of himself
with a crossbow arrow contributing
to his expression that I will describe
over dinner as a thin line between
performance art and abandonment.
Investigation is nothing but a feeling
suppressant, as are door knocks
in bad neighbourhoods. Remember,
police fall in love and serial killers
have an address.

Anthony Lawrence has published fifteen books of poems and a novel. His most recent book Headwaters (Pitt Street Poetry) won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry, 2017. He teaches Creative Writing at Griffith university, Queensland, and lives with his partner on Moreton Bay.

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