Making the Cut

Penny Perkins

I cut-up in class and make him laugh. And then I cut myself between classes when he smiles at someone else.

I cut Human Geography because I didn’t study for the quiz. And then I cut myself behind the bleachers with my pen cap.

I make a cutting remark during lunch. And then I cut myself by my locker when he doesn’t text back.

I make the cut, and get promoted to the first row of saxophones. And then I cut myself with my new reed when I practice in my room that night.

I cut my chops on the new arrangement. And then I cut myself, right there in band practice, when I keep missing the triplets.

I cut marching practice because I forgot my water bottle and couldn’t take the ninety-degree heat. And then I cut myself on the bus ride home with the wire from my spiral notebook.

When I get home, I cut my hair because you won’t let me dye it blue because I’m “only fourteen” and you’re paying the bills and that means — as you constantly remind me — that it’s your house, your rules. I watch strands of my hair fall to my bedroom carpet. And then I cut myself with the point of the scissors.

I cut a word from the last sentence of my homework. And then I cut myself with the post of my earring, adding lines to the row of scars on my upper right thigh.

I cut my leg while shaving, accidentally. And then I cut my left forearm with the same razor to see how it feels to do it on purpose.

I cut corners while cleaning my room. You yell at me for it. And then I cut myself with an old wire hanger hiding in the back of the closet.

He called me “cut rate” when he broke up with me. And then I cut his initials into my left thigh.

You yelled at me to “cut it out!” when you saw it. I couldn’t cut it out, so you made me go to a therapist who cut me down to size. Your insurance would only pay for five visits, so after that you found a cut-rate shrink who was even worse. I said if you make me go again, I’ll run away to Calcutta, and so we cut a deal to end the lame-o counseling. You made me promise to stop cutting and I said I would, and so you cut me some slack.


Later, after dinner when you were glued to the big screen TV watching the game and drinking a glass of wine, I cut myself with your corkscrew. You didn’t notice. I guess we both have our work cut out for us.

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