The dentist, having filled my tooth,
tousled my hair.
I had not had my hair tousled since –
well, in fact, I couldn’t remember
ever having had my hair tousled.
I don’t mean having someone
romantically run her fingers
through my hair. That kept happening.
I mean the way a grown-up chuckles
and does it to a child. Perhaps I wasn’t
the tousling type, but not everyone
would have seen that on first acquaintance,
and some just like to tousle children’s hair
as they go along on the sidewalk or on buses.
Besides, though it’s hard to believe now,
I was a very attractive child, with hair
brighter and fuller, very touslable.
Curious that I can’t remember an uncle,
my father, or a family friend tousling my hair.
So when, as a 27-year-old
with many mature responsibilities,
I felt the dentist tousling my hair,
I was puzzled. I’ve never tried to guess
his motive, but it was good to have
a moment of warmth in the dentist chair.