When Korean-Americans came to town,

Tony, my barber returned to Sicily,

sold his shop to Lee-Kun- Hee

who spoke only in his native tongue.

Left behind was Toby, his fat blue-eyed

white angora cat who could be found

each morning crouched before the

store’s glass door, purring contentedly

in the glow of the eastern sun.

Customers sat in their usual chairs

engrossed in Tony’s tawdry tabloids

and leftover girly magazines.

When summoned to the chair

I pointed to my crotch indicating

I first had to make a short piss stop.

After he wrapped me tightly in a gown

I tried to signal a trim would do.

He smiled, bowed and exclaimed:

“Thank you very much,” the only

English he knew.

In a muddled cacophony of concurrent

radio Korean music and “One Life

To Live” blaring on the overhead T.V.

he snipped away as my face in the mirror

grew increasingly alarmed.

I broke into a cold sweat seeing myself

transformed into a jar head U.S. Marine;

suddenly remembering a sixty year

old scene in the barracks of Camp Kilmer

where guys returning from the war sang

DuWop, traded stories about a dose of clap,

warts on their dick and memories of

Mew Goo Ding, the delicacy of cat soup.

Every day thereafter, walking to town

to get a paper and coffee in the morning

I’d be sure to pass the barber’s store

to see Toby still basking in the sun

behind the glass door, guardian now

of Lee-Kun-Hee’s barbershop store.

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie Street Leonia, N.J. 07605