By Laremy Lee
He blanches even before whitening
his maw with lily-coloured clouds of lather.
Stopping; staring, he comes face to face
with mortality in the mirror:
the first growth of white upon his chin.
At twenty-five? he wonders, tilting
his head to catch the light;
neck craning every which way;
willing it to be a trick of the light.
Weren’t foam beards just yesterday’s couture,
worn laughingly while footstool-propped over
porcelain basins, watching Daddy draw
steel across his throat
like ploughed tracks in fields of snow,
the older man eyeing his reflection as warily
as his son studies his own,
his likeness in the looking glass
a shadowy Judas
to be kissed with vapoured lips
fogging up the surface as he leans in,
reaper’s scythe scraping skin.
When the mist clears, he will appear
younger, but older; sheepishly
shorn of stubble and youth.
First published in Dudarev, V., ed. Yunost 12 (2013): 59. Trans. Nikitina, E. Print.