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The Invention of Shaving

For hard-hearted men, a chance to
touch our own faces and to return.

For the shadow in the porcelain sink,
the emblem of our toil.

For youth, everything.

For the past, that time sleeping
under the bridge, or that

moment when the news arrived.

For the kings of nothingness.

For whiskey stubble,
you seeds of DNA disseminating.


For the gray patch
and for the cells of our many sins,

what pleasure it was
to wear you for a day.

A lifetime of loneliness
in each shorn whisker.

For the shadow which refuses.

For the razor that agrees.

Is this who I am: rag-cloth,
bright blood?

Shall we perpetuate? Shall we
lean into the mirror?

Shall we try to learn
what disappears in steam?

We shall.

For the disappointment of beauty,
passing us, ungraspable.

For the drain, the sea. The ocean
storms which no one sees.

For the duration between

If we are accused,
be our innocence.

If we die unloved,
be our sharp correction.


Darren Morris’ poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, New England Review, and The Missouri Review. New work can be found at The Burnside Review and Juked and is forthcoming from Permafrost and National Poetry Review. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, and is the poetry editor at Parhelion Literary Magazine.