Amanda Chiado’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart, and Best of the Net. She has twice attended Squaw Valley on scholarship in fiction and poetry. She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and California College of the Arts where she was the poetry editor for Eleven Eleven. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, Witness, Cimarron Review, Fence, and It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip Hop, among others. She works for the San Benito County Arts Council, is an active California Poet in the Schools, and edits for Jersey Devil Press and Weave. She lives with her husband and two children in rural Hollister, California where she sings, dances and collects horror-movie memorabilia. Visit her at

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

The Jane Lumley Prize '15 : Honorable Mention

                  A M A N D A   C H I A D O

​T H E   V E N T R I L O Q U I S T ' S   D A U G H T E R

After Caleb Hahne

​If I wanted a yes, I had to ask her with the mask on.  
She only wanted words through the distorted telescope 
of a face; there I was a bomb-struck moon in the distance 
behind all of that papier-mâché.  The thought of tenderness 
turned her skin into a chalkboard and my love was fingernails.  
She would let me sit on her lap awhile if I stayed still, then 
when she remembered that I was a person, my body warm, 
was neither doll nor corpse, she’d shove me off and apologize 
for all the dead fantasies in her hands, each fairy tale buried 
by some fault of a body ruining another body.  She was an hour glass 
of shards, but once I wore the mask and asked her for a kiss.  
I caught her first thing in the morning, near the window 
with the most sun.  My trapped breath held for any warm light.