When you turned nine, nobody dreamed
your party would be mustache-themed.
Guests at the door were asked to wear
adhesive strips of facial hair
and presto—by that artful touch
the atmosphere was changed so much!
Kids looked more sophisticated
with their muzzles groomed and shaded,
while fussing mothers’ trimmed goatees
could scarce be taken seriously.
Cousins with bushy handle-bars
stroked them like bogus Russian czars,
and uncles leered like pool sharks
(or Stalin, mocked by Groucho Marx).
When fuzz beneath your Nana’s nose
sent shivers down to Papa’s toes,
it made us laugh so hard the guck
that held our stickers came unstuck—
and one by one, without a sound,
mustaches fluttered to the ground!
Unfazed, we drank from mustache straws,
ate frosting shaped by mustache laws;
in perfect sync, we shared the vibe
of living as one mustached tribe.
I hope these birthday wonders stick
in your memory—and that some new trick
occurs to you, when you turn ten,
to turn us into better men.
David Southward teaches in the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His first collection, Apocrypha, was just released by Wipf & Stock. His poems have appeared recently in Blotterature, Gyroscope Review, Hummingbird, Measure, and Razor Lit Mag. Learn more at davidsouthward.com.