What a discovery you made, Vincent Van Gogh, alone in your room that Christmas Eve when you slid a shiny blade along your skull and severed half of your right ear. The glitterati would call it insanity, sheer craziness, pure scandal. There, quivering and graceful in your hand, you met the finest art you'd ever created— its fine hairs, now glistening with shiny ornaments of blood, its dying pink flushed more delicately than the best mother-of-pearl, its slim ridges rising form the lobe and fluting up to the edge of the cut. Sunflowers and starry nights dimmed beside it, and the pastel grade of irises blanched at its beauty. But even as you marveled it wilted not a gray tatter, a cool curl of flesh folding in on itself. Days later, it was only a withered bat's wing you kept in a small box. You would not glorify it on canvas. Instead, you prepared a solemn self-portrait: in it, a tumor of bandages upstages your long Dutch frown and juts from the side of your head, gauze covering a gruesome wound. I know your loss. Mine is the same. I too have spent a Christmas Eve cradling my immaculate conceptions my fresh-hewn darlings still glory form the ink of my pen. All artists bleed. We carve holes in ourselves so that everyone else stays whole. Trent Hickman will receive his Master's in English in August 1996, following which he'll pursue his PhD at New York State University at Stony Brook. Trent has had his poetry published in several literary journals, including Negative Capabilities, which is even more respected than Inscape.