Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Christian cutting at Vancouver General

Amber Moore
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Vancouver General Hospital

She calls it “Christian cutting,” and laughs dryly,
as if trying to soak the secret back up. It’s futile;
in the Psychiatry Assessment Unit at Vancouver General,
everything spills out eventually anyway- it gushes.

Carving crucifixes in her skin, she prays to Mary because
Jesus just won’t do.
She doesn’t think he’ll bother to try and stop her.
He lets a lot of other pressing items
carry on without saying too much, right?

She can’t count on him to lightly touch the small of her back and
push her in a different direction. Even the wind is still and the atmosphere
seems stale, far from divine. Soon, she’ll have a small army of crosses
on her inner thigh- a Vimy Ridge all her own.

From the next bed, I suggest angel wings for the other leg, so she can
shake or dance a little to make them move,
attempt takeoff. They just might keep her grounded,
closer to soil than soul.

She likes that and muses about what kind of feathers
she should aim for- sharp and tall or soft
and billowy, which might be difficult
to manage with the small knife she once used for
her art journaling.

“Mary will notice me,” she assures:
“A mother always keeps an eye on her children.”



AMBER MOORE  is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia studying language and literacy education with the Faculty of Education. Her research interests include adolescent literacy, feminist pedagogies, and trauma literature. She also enjoys writing poetry and creative nonfiction. 


Summer 2018  |  Sections  |  Poetry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.