Struggling to wake, hung over,
I stumble heavy eyed to the bathroom,
fumbling the razor into the sink.
Profanities are muttered,
as water cascades over clumsy hands,
temperature rising as the boiler kicks in.
With thin ribbons of steam wafting upwards,
senses begin slowly to sharpen
and the ridiculous irritation abates.
In the mirror, watching my reflection mist over,
I drift into momentary inaction,
before wiping the condensation away.
The image distorts with excessive staring.
Tired eyes remain as the rest disappears
to the sound of familiar whistling.
I fall into a childhood memory;
the smell of soap, aftershave and tobacco,
a cheerful monologue from a familiar voice.
As a five year old I hear the blade;
metal scraping over taut skin,
my father’s head tilted back and to the side.
He turns with a smile and looks down at me,
face partly lathered, partly shaved,
as I stand in the bathroom doorway.
Returning to my overflowing basin,
turning off the tap without a glance,
feeling lost and inadequate,
I continue to stare at an obscured reflection;
through the mist of early morning glass,
in the mirror, my father’s eyes smile back.