Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Bald Spot

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Bald Spot

Article excerpt


At first it's just a rumor,

a gossipy joke between mirrors,

nothing more than a hint

of bare forest floor

starting to gleam through what had been

a dense canopy.


Lord, you know I did not pray

for this monastic tonsure

emerging like a slow-motion shearing,

this skullcap of scalp

gradually bared, a bull's-eye for heaven.


Did I scratch the crown of my head

too much, feigning thinking?

Or did I sleep too often and too long,

pillowfriction and dreamthrashing

thinning my already-thin hair?


Pale pate,

you loom, you glow dully

as a moon veiled by wispy clouds

or a failed halo.

And you keep on rising, rising

like a boulder long hidden

at the bottom of a lake being drained by drought.


Everybody has a soft spot

for a soft spot, a baby's holey cranium,

but nobody really wants to fondle

this middle-age fontanel.


I could try to cover it

with my rueful hand, with a ballcap,

with too-long feathery neighboring strands

meticulously combed over,

with hirsute chemicals from can or jar,

with plugs transplanted

as if reconstructing a lawn blade by blade,

but nothing can halt its spread

except Death, the smooth Prince of Alopecia. …

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