Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Variations of My Room in the Bone Marrow Unit: Scissors

Below is a poem reprinted from my book, "The Woman with a Cubed Head," (Kalamazoo, MI: New Issues Press, 1998. ISBN: 093-282-6660.)

"Variations on My Room in the Bone Marrow Unit:
In the Room of Scissors"

By Julie Moulds

Scissors, every pair I ever used, hanging from penny nails
on walls, hanging like silver chromosomes
on colored yarn from the ceiling; blades built into the floor

like that iron bed of proverbs. The scissors are bright
preschool plastic; tiny toenail; jagged pinking shears
I loved from mother's sewing box; left-handed scissors

that never worked in elementary. They are the barber's shears
used to cut my hair that didn't fall, the second time
my hair let go. The barber stays with me in my room

though he sits as far away as he can. I walk over, offer
him my last remnants of curls, say, "I've never gone
to a barber before." He answers, "It's not like going to the moon"

and speaks nothing more to me, even after clipping
off my little mowhawk and my final stubborn pair of tufts.
He gets his money and my hair never grows back.

My head is lunar and I start to wear his spare green barber coat
but he still won't talk, so I change to blue hospital robes, walk
through the shop, avoiding the floor blades. The clippers buzz

and roar, beckoning customers to come. The music makes
the scissors leap from their nails and dance on the long
shop counter, kicking up sharp chromed legs.

The barber, a businessman, charges his clients double
to watch, his patients a line of bruise-eyed women
and men, their mouths sewn shut with catgut.

They enter with fuzz on their heads and leave smooth as stones.
Everyone exits, but I can't, and stare through the glass
at the door locked from the outside; stare at the clock

saying when the barber will return. The scissors and I
are alone. I hate the barber, but anything chrome
behaves when he is here. Now they are scissors

with an agenda: I am disease, a Gulliver-sized pogrom
a ritual purification to make happen. Not being threaded
needles, can they cut out the bad and not leave me

to bleed? lymph nodes, ovaries, lungs? The scissors
walk towards me like little John Waynes, and I focus
on the clock, play with its red plastic hands.

Even the hands are scissors.


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