He tells his barber to cut his hair like Steve McQueen:
A little off the top, longer on the sides. It’s been
one close shave after another —the jungles of Nicaragua
and a scar the length of his forearm. Some
Sandinista machete, he said, but the USMC medic stitched him.
Then the six incher vertical snake scarring his abdomen.
A claim of hypoglycemia and blackouts, not remembering
where he’d been, who he’d seen, even who he’d slept with.
How inconvenient it all was, he said not knowing
if what he had was a pancreatic tumor and an early death.
But he scraped by again, and the slice of flesh
biopsied benign. The gouge above the right eye? Tomcat
or Tomahawk depending on who’s listening, or Jaguar
or Slim Jim. You gotta give it to him: like any good spy,
he tailored his lies to fit his audience. He cut his hair
in homage to his hero, it gave him courage, he said,
to pretend he was Bandito, the King of Cool, Bullitt,
the last of the magnificent seven, a butterfly narrowly
eluding impalement on barbed wire.
I could take scissors to his hair myself, but he doesn’t
trust me. After what he’s done he knows his neck
is vulnerable. I am not that girl who believes love
means never having to say you’re sorry.
He’d better worry. When he comes home
this time he’ll find that the pillow he sleeps
on is really a knife, blade unsheathed, and ready to slice.