The Scissor Man

She said the Scissor Man hadn’t come
There were no scissors left for me to cut and craft
Or play the paper games she’d taught me

Art was in her blood and came to me
A flood of her nurture streaming in as bedside words
That awoke in me a love for turning pocket rubble and whispered troubles

Into works for kitchen walls and family halls and passing wonder
But that day the Scissor Man hadn’t come
The image ran through my head of a man with only scissors in his van

Rumbling through the country handing blades to adults for their casual cutting needs
And the image bleeds from my mind with the taste of parents’ words
That aren’t right, like the taste of overboiled rice

A ruined dish drowned in spice so not to blot a table set nicely otherwise
The Scissor Man hadn’t come, she said
And the lie cut as it crawled from the bed

But scissors last forever, I declared, they don’t need delivered
And she smiled, it had been a while
Since someone had seared through her paper thin veil

Here was her child closing the fairytale and finding the real as
He slid it from the secret space beneath her bed
The scissors are right here! I revealed

Wielding the tools I never knew could spill
I asked her why she had to lie and with no-one else to tell
She let the cover slide, the scissors’ work

A tide of red waving from her wrists
Sometimes I don’t like myself
She read from the lines on her skin

Which mapped a new world I had never lived in
Where a mother was a woman too
Paper games seemed silly now

The instruments of play now weapons in a crueler game
The beginning of the art of shame
And every time I start to find my craft is weak

Or flat against my fears
I hear them shimmer, on their way
The rumble of the van in this paperless land

He’s back again, The Scissor Man
She’d crafted just for fun
I open up his tale and wish he’d never come.

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