She Builds Her House Around My Body – Marianne Peel

Getting a trim

Brave & Reckless

My mother’s hands scurry
through the junk drawer
searching for the scissors.
Dull blades. Yellow handles.

She corners me
in the bathroom. Bends me
over the sink, my back pressed
over the edge. Formica.

Scrubbed with Pine Sol.
The fumes dizzy me. Disorient
me, blades brandished
toward my bangs. 

She has no level.  No bowl
to chop around.  Just her cataract eyes,
blurred, to maneuver the shears.
the room begins to gyrate, spiral down. 

I am teetering. Muddied with vertigo.
My mouth plugged with cotton balls.  My ears
stuffed with cotton swabs. My eyes pressed shut.  I tell her
I am going to faint.  That I will disintegrate onto the immaculate
linoleum.  Cleanliness is next to godliness, she always told me. 
We could eat off this floor. She always told me.

And then a surge of steel. A blaze of blade.
And I am gone.  


Photo by Matt Artz on

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