Ed Gold

Central City
after Charles Anderson, graphite and charcoal
	2015 Top Prize Winner, Artfields, Lake City, SC 

In Joe’s Barbershop,
on the corner of Acline and West Main,
we art tourists stay 

behind the yellow ribbon
so no one gets too close 
to the scissors.

You smell pomades and powder.
They offer a lineup, neck cleanup,
and a one-blade buzz cut.

The 7-year-old black boy on the wall 
will not look you in the eye.
He does not want you to see how hurt he is.

I said to a barber in a wheelchair,
“I was just in Baltimore.
This child is what the riots were about.”

He reached over the yellow ribbon
and shook my hand.
“An excellent analogy,” he said.

And it was: the charcoal and graphite on paper,
the lost boy,
the two hands crossing the line.

Ed Gold is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars and taught for many years at the University of Maryland. He has a chapbook, Owl, and poems in the Ekphrastic Review, Petigru Review, New Verse News, Think, New York Quarterly, Kakalak, and others. Ed runs the Skylark Poetry Contest for SC high school poets. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife Amy and their dog Edie.