©2019 by Canvas Literary Journal

Published by Cosmographia Books

Background art “Camouflage” by Hyung Jin Lee

Canvas logo by Ali Wrona

nocturne in the fist of the aquarium

Ana Chen

Autumn 2019

the organ gargles in my dream where
all the men are underwater and a mermaid beheads them

one by one.

we are at a wedding and i am

the apoptosis of vanilla, godiva pearls menstruating

into basement salt.

in these mercurial tides the benthos is glass. leaves

with screen door eyes, teeth hard shards
of the unwanted. my lips are chapped red.

the shrimp and my moods cuddle in
the crevasses of my nails. my hands weather white

but only in the brine of my knuckles.

i consider the concept of one. a head
floats past. broad nose spilling into sandstone jaw: bow tie

of so many arteries.

the mermaid swims to me and i try to tell her she is beautiful,

cerulean scars bubbling over her breasts. yes, she tells me, i

know. and
with the tender brush of a mother, she shreds the veins

from my neck.

Originally from Seattle, Ana Chen is a freshman at Stanford University. Her writing has been recognized at international and national levels by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, The Adroit Journal, the Claremont Review, Polyphony Literary Magazine, the New York Pitch Conference, and others. In 2019, she founded It’s Real (itsrealmagazine.org), an online magazine seeking to destigmatize mental health issues in Asian American communities, followed by Punderings, a blog discussing art and activism, womanhood, college, and teenage angst. You can follow her on Instagram at @writerina.