After the photograph, “The Unrepentant” by CM Goodenbury


Which did I see first:

the crimson leather of the barber chair or the dingy skylight overhead? This crumbling dungeon is no ordinary salon. No easy listening here. No poster of radiant models with perfect hair.

And who was the last customer

to get the chair? Whose tormented face downlit by light fluorescent floating under window to the earth above, illuminating appointments in the night?

This vaulted ceiling.

This windowed crypt with concrete walls whose half-life has passed. This scab of dull paint clinging to the wall up high, unhealed wound beneath a demonic oculus.

Here, where orderlies

strapped patients in for fresh cuts to the head. Edith got bangs. Arthur, a bob like an upturned bowl of gruel. Eleanor a flat top buzzed to a perfect brush from razor’s hum.

A stylist in white scrubs

concentrates with a scowl on the brown-grey filaments of each pathological guest. “Lower your head so I can clean up your neck,” he says to a hundred-pound chair-bound John.

But the boy defies him,

tilts back his head, dirty winter daylight finds his eyes as thick spiral locks drop from smock to floor.





Jonathan Everitt is a Rochester, N.Y., freelance writer whose creative writing has been published in Lake Affect magazine, The Finger, The ImageOutWrite annual journal, Le Mot Juste, Escape Into Life magazine, Upstate Gardener’s Journal, the Hobo Dog video series, and is the basis for a short film. He has performed at numerous venues including the Genesee Reading Series at Writers and Books, The Ladder literary conference, Flash Night at The Yards, ImageArt, and as an a la mode poet at Poetry & Pie Night in Rochester. Jonathan has also co-led a workshop for LGBTQ poets and co-founded the monthly open mic, New Ground Poetry Night. He is a regular guest on WAYO FM’s “Flour City Yawp,” a radio show focused on poetry. Jonathan is currently a creative writing MFA candidate at Bennington College.

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