Contributions by other people

Gary Barwin

For A Number of Years

I found a moustache by the side of the road, kept it in a jar on my desk. I punched holes in the jar's lid, provided it adequate food. All afternoon I watched as the hairs of the moustache swayed like a miniature field of dark wheat, but then just before supper a stillness came over the jar as if a grim frost had passed through. After several days, I buried the jar beneath the roots of a tree by a barbershop.

Though I looked for hours in the roadside grass, I could not find another moustache. Instead, I attempted to will a moustache to appear on the face of my younger brother. I would stare at him through dinner as he ate his potatoes, boiled chicken or jello. At night I'd throw bottles of Aqua Velva into the river, watch them bob then splinter on the rocks. Though my brother was only nine and already as tall as me, I tried to hasten his growth, adding the appropriate substances to his breakfast. But nothing it seemed would make a moustache appear -- not bedrest, not a stay in the hospital overnight.

At school, moustaches began to appear on the faces of boys in my class. I did not feel that I was responsible for these unnecessary growths. I had desired but a single moustache, which I felt was reasonable, not so immodest as an entire eighth-grade crop.

I decided in secret to try cultivating a moustache upon my own lip. I prayed for it to grow. I stole my father's razor, mixed his hairspray with milk. I spent time with my grandad, walked by bars. I felt certain that when spring came, my moustache would grow.

By February, I noticed a certain growth on my lip, one that wouldn't wash off. I was unable to harvest this pale corn. It grew all summer, until it began to curl. I was given a shaving kit and with this was finally able to collect and store this more robust growth in a jar, where it lead a happy, though fairly quiet life, for a number of years.