Clean Shaving

Illustration © Claire Palmer 


In a barber’s mirror I appear

much younger though I stopped

shaving a while ago. Youth is

overrated, unnecessary; it creeps behind


on sleek crutches, it makes

me check over my shoulder.

It shears my clothes apart

at the most inconvenient moments.


See, that’s why there is no youth in afterlife,

the barber says. Hereafter is so full of beards

that clean-shaven people worry they’ll

miss out on a place among immortals.


Conversation breaks up when the blade

hesitates down my neck as if looking

for an incision mark. Youth-talk makes

the sharpest of knives doubt itself.


Knotted hair brushed in a dustpan.

Out the door, first left up the High Street,

I notice a young blade following me.

I am slowly turning to stone.


© Maria Stadnicka 2020

Published in ‘International Times’, 14 March 2020.

Lost in Books in Lostwithiel


Come to ‘Lost in Books’ for the launch of A Confusion of Marys (Shearsman Books) w/ Sarah Cave & Rupert Loydell & featuring Special Guest Poet, Maria Stadnicka. Doors open at 6.30pm.

RUPERT LOYDELL is Senior Lecturer in the School of Writing and Journalism at Falmouth University, a writer, editor and abstract artist. He has many books of poetry in print, including Dear Mary, The Return of the Man Who Has Everything, Wildlife and Ballads of the Alone, all published by Shearsman, and Talking Shadows from Red Ceilings. Shearsman also published Encouraging Signs, a book of essays, articles and interviews. He has also authored many collaborative works, several with Daniel Y. Harris; and edited Smartarse and co-edited Yesterday’s Music Today for Knives Forks & Spoons Press, From Hepworth’s Garden Out: poems about painters and St. Ives for Shearsman, and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos for Salt.

SARAH CAVE is a writer and academic living in Cornwall. She is currently working on a practice-based PhD in Poetry at Royal Holloway. Sarah has published two pamphlets and an illustrated chapbook, like fragile clay, published by Guillemot Press. She has published two collections of poetry, An Arbitrary Line (Broken Sleep Books) and Perseverance Valley (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press). Sarah’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Oxford Poetry, Tears in the Fence, Shearsman and Eborakon.

Lost in Books is an independent bookshop in Cornwall, United Kingdom. You can find further information about it, here. The address is Lost in Books, Quay Street, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0BS, UK.

© Lost in Books


© Maria Stadnicka 2020