Last Trip to the Barber – by Joy Gaines-Friedler

As I drove,
my father, heron-frail,
craned his neck into the wrinkled sky, said,

Sometimes I see the face of my father in the clouds.

This must be a trick—
the way what once stung me
— up close
is actually something delicate, with wings
& its own compound body.

I too looked up, seeking a sign—
—  silence

fell between us.
Where did this untried trust come from?

& that look from the guys at the barber shop
when I held open the door
& they first saw him—

their eyes like startled cats
turned swiftly to contentment.

Your dad is an amazing guy.

What we don’t know, can’t know,
might fill the sky.

J Gaines-FriedlerJoy Gaines-Friedler is the author of three books of poetry. She is also a co-winner of the 2021 Friends of Poetry Chapbook Contest. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee her work is published widely. Joy teaches Creative Writing for non-profits in the Detroit area where she’s had the honor of working with male lifers in prison, refugees from western Africa, young adults “at risk,” and parents of murdered children, among others. Joy has a Masters in Creative Writing from Ashland University in Ohio.