©2020 by Canvas Literary Journal

Published by Cosmographia Books

Background art “Submerged” by Amelia Ao

Canvas logo by Ali Wrona

Pain is seen but

hard to describe!

Chloe Frampton

Winter 2020

Beneath bladed skin, sitting on autumn’s tongue, I idle in the sound

of my breath and see three things:


1.  A wrist white as liquid cloud poured through pink, prickly petals.

Do you see what I am describing? Twenty-six scars.


But this is not what I saw: woolen sleeve draped over tight fingertips

(red-stained because the blood starts to swell) writing on the desk

leaning against mine.


2. Edged teeth bright like blinding sun in cars with large windows (I

remember that smile, 1 a.m. in the empty village he forced it upon

me). Do you see what I am describing? Lips rising, moist and plump

(they were once searing fists on mine); it’s a smile.


But this is not what I saw: rage on his eyelashes dripping like sap

onto my gaze (that snaps back like an elastic band for I mustn’t

forget to gather every piece of myself once again).


3.  A bright, blood-red river stains freckles like nectar drizzling on

hot sand (she stares at me but all I see is empty need so raw I choke

on my own words). Do you see what I am describing? Tears, wet

emotion (red for this sadness comes from somewhere deeper, more

hateful than her hopeful face) falling like an eagle before its soar.


But this is not what I saw: grief, strange and unspoken as menstruation

blood or men’s hearts (it is like the fire-smeared sunset blemished

on ocean ice).


I dip in and out of happiness like the seagull weaves the horizon

but in people, I see more than my own mind realizes (only later I

think Eureka! Here, I see their pain now) and in such meditation on

the human soul (cracked as it is) I find catharsis from my own mind

(twenty-six scars, a smile, and tears).

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.