Norma M. Schulman

Ode to Scissors

Ballerinas mimic your pas de deux, model leg lifts
                                                      after its classic form.
Your splits inspire repertoires of acrobats,
                                                      and antic alley cats
with a talent for friction. Whatever
                                                      intersects and draws
back;  whatever scrapes past or razors  its way
                                                      between what's possible
and what's not, to even out the odds of falling.
                                                      Who's to say to be hinged
is a blessing
, that gifts of self-closure set you apart from other
                                                       heartless things?
Or muscles wielding the sharpest tongues could
                                                      use a bit of trimming?

Time was, we loved ourselves so little, touch was a public sport
                                                      with jousts and foils,
a slash, a thrust—whatever the task at hand required.
                                                       Your blades hung
at the crotch of death—like a cross. Your pairs
                                                      resolved enigmas
of befuddled men and women, who so loved their trinities
                                                      they couldn't whittle down
salvation to a single course of action.
                                                       Cutting is at the heart
of being twins. By your thankless teeth, we are
                                                      halved and doubled.
You deliver us from too great a softness. 

Norma M. Schulman

Norma Schulman received her B.A. in English from Barnard College and is currently an MFA student in Poetry at the University of Utah. In the past, she worked for public television in Boston, was a faculty member in English and American Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and studied political science at the London School of Economics & Political Science. A semi-finalist in several national poetry contests, including the (former) Nation/Discovery and Center for Book Arts awards, she has published poems in the Atlanta Review, Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, and Mid-American Review, among other places.