Paper Covers Rock
CW: cutters, cutting nipples, miscarriage
I can’t stop buying scissors. I walk into Home Depot for geraniums & lilies, leave with gardening shears, green ergonomic handles. Gelson’s for halibut. Shiny poultry shears. At a garage sale I find a pair of hedge clippers. By December paper cutters, pinking shears, hair trimmers—any blades you want are boxed in the kitchen pantry.
Saturday he takes his 14 clubs & disappears. In hot water, I clean scissors. Prop them on the counter before drying with muslin. Each blade I shine with baking soda. In high school I hung with cutters. They used whatever worked—broken glass, coat hangers, paper. Arms tracked with violet scars like stretch marks, hidden under long-sleeve shirts.
Reflections in a Golden Eye: Mrs. Langdon uses garden shears to clip her nipples when she loses her baby. Snip snip—easy as pinching off deadheads. Sunday in January, I hold my left nipple between the blades of barber shears. Warm steel triggers goose bumps. Is a nipple like a finger? Can they sew it back on?
Recurrent dream: Blades down, scissors drop from the ceiling, rattling & hissing. Impale the cherry nightstand, down comforter, my Land’s End bathrobe. I crouch in the tub, rocking to the sound of hail. Open my thigh—blood a rusty penny melting on my tongue.
I get an Alabama divorce. He signs the papers & hauls his Titleist clubs, La-Z-Boy, & mahogany desk back to Illinois. Parting words: The cat stays with you. I keep Moot, the crystal, & the condo. Start selling the scissors on E-Bay, box by box.
NOTE: This poem originally appeared in the now defunct Mademoiselle’s Fingertips (Summer 2008)
Chella Courington (she/her) is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear or will appear in numerous anthologies and journals including DMQ Review, The Los Angeles Review, Scapegoat Review, and New World Writing. Nominated for Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets, she was raised in the Appalachian south and now lives in California. Forthcoming are two micro chapbooks of poetry: Good Trouble, Origami Poems Project, and Hell Hath, Maverick Duck Press. Twitter: <@chellacouringto> Instagram: <chellacourington>