‘​Red Scissors Woman’ by Kim Hyesoon​

— Nix Thérèse

I was always accosted by relatives to be more careful with scissors and knives since I was the artist, aka the most likely to have them in hand. Encountering a reality where a woman’s entire body is scissors immediately had me wondering if she managed care. Unsurprisingly, outside gazes blink in pretty early on: how scared God must have been when the woman… was cutting out each red body from between her legs. If we’re still running with the almighty-as-creator ideal, I love the implication that this woman makes the most of her body’s capabilities, even when it horrifies. Likewise, it’s the sense of speed that really colors this encounter. If she’s maintaining the same pace throughout, it would be terrifying to watch her snip all these bodies without taking the time to analyze or hold or nurture them. The horror comes from not knowing whether these bodies will have any impact or what their relationship will be beyond this. Are they scissors too? Was the cut clean? I love how childbirth gets defamiliarized enough here that the tension & trauma feel fresh. Even the “red” reads more physical manifestation of your body reacting to being enacted upon, instead of just blood-covering.

Scissors don’t always have to be “swiftswift” efficiency; the slower cut can allow you to really puncture the material before breaking it completely. But that can also be too much intimacy, which gets mirrored in the question: do I live inside that blood? Blood is tie and communion. After stacking dozens of boxes of Philly cheesesteak these past two weeks, many of which were at least a quarter straight blood, I’m always wary of the stickiness’ inability to draw off hand. While the woman is not afraid of encountering blood in her cuts, she’s not the one who has to live inside blood for any extended period of time. She gets to continue slicing through the landscape while newborns swim / inside [her] mirror… / slow breaking waves of blood / like the morning sea filled with fish. Ironically, this makes me curious about her birth. Did she slice through the mother? If her children recreate that pain, does that make her more intentional? This myth manages to take deceptively clear images and pack them with emotional density. Trust this woman to swipe open winter for you.