Sunday, November 3, 2019

Long Hair and Bleach by Jason Fisk

I took the garbage bags to the end of the driveway
and doused them with bleach
so no wildlife would annihilate the plastic bags
before they were taken away in the morning
The orange-yellow-pink evening light
angled through the garage window
as my dad tinkered at his workbench

I placed the bleach bottle back on the shelf
and dad turned and said, I think we need to talk
What about? I asked
Your hair…
Why? I asked
Because it’s too long. You should get it cut, he said
You’re just jealous ‘cause you don’t have any hair, I said
Maybe, he said and turned back to his work
His faded denim shirt hugged his back
as he bent over his workbench

At 46, I stand in the middle of my garage
and stare at my son’s shaggy hair
and I now know what my dad was really asking
He was asking
if I was hanging out with the wrong people
if I was drinking
if I was doing drugs
He was asking
if we could just talk for a minute
He wanted to know what was going on with me
and I insulted him…

Jason Fisk lives and writes in the suburbs of Chicago. He has worked in a psychiatric unit, labored in a cabinet factory, and mixed cement for a bricklayer. He was born in Ohio, raised in Minnesota, and has spent the last 25 years in the Chicago area.


  1. Love this poem. It's vivid yet pithy, observational. Love Fisk's voice and narrative.

  2. Great poem. Made me think of my own father and how I messed up. Probably a universal experience...