When I was a boy, Dad said
"A real man is always clean-shaven.

Stoically, then, I faced mirrors
overseen by the waving antennae
of cockroaches far up the Nile,
as a temblor rattled the pipes in L.A.,
over a slimy green washbowl near Uxmal,
baby-faced always, sometimes bleeding.

It was in Denali,
moose turds underfoot,
rumors of a grizzly,
as I scraped barbed stubble
with hand soap,
a cup of cold water,
a fogged-up side-view mirror

that I noticed my travelling buddy,
joyously bearded David,
placidly eating breakfast
and laughing.

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