Men With Small Heads


"Men With Small Heads" is the first song in Lori Laitman's song cycle Men With Small Heads. Lux's poem is one of the new poems in his collection New and Selected Poems of Thomas Lux: 1975-1995.


The performers in the audio recording, provided in the player to the right, are Randall Scarlata, baritone, and Lori Laitman, piano. Used with the composer's permission. To listen, please click on the track name itself.

Men With Small Heads

Men With Small Heads
by Thomas Lux

Men with Small Heads

and women with small heads
were everywhere
in my hometown when I was six.
Two men standing on the corner: small heads.
Small head: a woman leans to look in her mailbox.
Then there'd be some normal bodies, normal heads.
Not everyone,
in other words, in my hometown
had small heads
but many did, enough
that I'd say to my mother, father: why
does that man have a small head?

I was glad my parents'
heads were normal-sized.
They were glad I (mostly) didn't ask
why a person with a small head
had a small head
within earshot of that person. Apparently
these small heads
did not appear so small to them.
They had my eyes checked first.
They took some x-rays of my skull.
Did I have migraines?
Did have pinhead fears, dreams?
Perhaps it was the angle through the windshield glass?
The local Dr. leaning over me
with his penlight probing
my retina--his head was huge
and the hairs on the back of his hand
were crossed like swords. Nothing wrong
with my eyes or my brain
that he could tell
but the heads I swore were small
were not, they were just your average heads,
circa 1953,
just your average heads,
in America.

Audio PLaylist