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by Chloe James

When I was eight
they stretched the serotonin
in my brain like
canvas in
preparation to be painted
with hot, red Adam

so I quartered and juiced my
two arms two legs
then watered down the familiar soup

at twelve years old
I handed him four
aluminum tubes,
silver ventricles labeled with
oily red-brown paper.
watched him slip them into his pocket

and after twenty years learned to spread my
self across a bamboo gurney,
primitive easel,
in our front yard.
waited for his long,
sinewy fingers to finish
methodically sliding along tin tubes from bottom to top
working out the greasy paint in cylindrical smudges.

waited for him to brush his name
from the hollow between my clavicles
along the sternum,
halving flesh, like a civil war
on my belly with paint that stank
of fermented fruit
and eggs.


Chloe James earned her BA in English at BYU in April 2005. She
presented her original poetry portfolio at the National Undergraduate
Literature Conference (WSU, 2005) and was one of three students
chosen to present individual creative work for the English Department
Reading Series (BYU, 2004). Chloe enjoys photography, oil painting,
and the solitary drive to Southern Utah. This is her first appearance
in Inscape.