Good Grooming

He won't comb his hair
unless I remind him.
It's important, I say.

Oh, come on, he says.

He doesn't see a mess, doesn't register
his sparse white hair standing up,
going every which way.

Unable to resist, I smooth his forehead,
attempt to arrange the thin tendrils of bed-hair,
grooming him the way some animals groom
each other: chimpanzees, cheetahs, those horses
we saw in the meadow, neck to neck, nuzzling.

Only he resists
and I offer the comb, asking him
to run it through his hair.

For your wife, I want to say,
so I can look at you
and see my handsome husband,
not this confused old gentleman
who doesn't give a damn.

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