©2020 by Canvas Literary Journal

Published by Cosmographia Books

Background art “Submerged” by Amelia Ao

Canvas logo by Ali Wrona

i am your martyr

Chloe Frampton

Winter 2020

let’s choose to remember this:

cotton fitted sheet, tender scratch on skin and smile spreading

like the dawn (i do not see the strain, wait, here—no, there, in

the lines engraved into your face)

 

if you refuse, i will only see this:

the sound of your breath, like the breeze trapped beneath

morning sun and the way open your eyes used to fall like

summer’s shadows from your tongue

 

i watch through hazy glass:

your hands, tracing my face (your fingers always seemed

afraid), sweaty in mine (you were right, i was easier to break

than i thought)

 

i just want to say:

these memories are like film photography, soft, blurry, old,

but yes, if you refuse to agree, of course i remember what you

remember (why do you remind me of things i buried long ago)

 

this is what happened:

standing before three mirrors, in our folly we lunged, knives’

leather calm in our palms, body between us split with both

stabs (at first we only giggled, like jealous school girls, only

after did i scream)

 

in my mind i see:

our numb figure looking down at the corpse and the realization

hanging heavy as a battered bible between us (we’re leaning

slightly, towards each other)

 

this is what a corpse looks like:

human—that hurt the most, yes, even more than the red life

pooling at our feet, the pasty skin white as curtains blemished

with moonlight, bruised veins, and the eyes, bulging,

shattering, those i’ll never forget

 

the next day i said to you:

yesterday was fun because you should know i’m trying to cover

this up but i wonder if you also know that yesterday was fun (i

hadn’t felt alive next to you in a long time)

 

what struck me:

your bloody lips above the bloody body bursting, brimming

with death so sharp i taste the bitter tang and you’d never

looked at me like this (so i decided i’d kill again to make you

feel like this)

 

i need to make you understand:

every time i catch a glimpse of myself in your stare (flash of s

houlder, lock of hair or maybe edge of my hip) i am reminded,

over and over again, of my humanity (that over and over again,

is taken from me)

 

this is what i keep doing:

describing you as unending, overflowing (with what i can’t

tell), accepting these freckled rivers because you taste better in

my beg (my father, pastor, might look down at me but i have

nothing to give god anyway)

 

i’ve never told you this:

on days of crisp air and damp dirt, i sit at strangers’ graves

and whisper of your faults like i am the one to be ashamed, but

when the cemetery lies empty once again, the dead keep my

secrets and i only return to you

 

this is what you did:

mangled me and so i chose to remember the cotton fitted sheet,

the tender scratch on skin and the smile, spreading like the

dawn (you ignore so i ignore, the rib i broke and the cut on my

thigh, gash welcoming)

Chloe Frampton is a seventeen-year-old high schooler in Geneva, Switzerland who was born in Washington, D.C. When she isn’t spending all her time reading or writing, she loves anything to do with music, art, and laughing too hard with friends. Her biggest wish is to travel around the world before spending the rest of her days living in a bookshop.