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



Parts catalogued, payment set. If thumb strikes off, twenty shillings. If thumb nail comes off, three shillings pays.

​The oldest penny in the hoard was Canadian. She had found it on the basement floor by the washing machine. Its face bore the profile of King George, the date 1929. Well, it wasn’t exactly buried treasure. At nine, it’s old enough. 

​Gif man scytefinger strikes off, VIIII shillings pays. He said it was the “shit-finger.” The dictionary said“shooting-finger.” She could hear it both ways.

​Each part holds a flashback. At five, she burnt her index finger on a cheap metal toaster. The skin went red, then white, then billowed outward, blistered, a snag in the body-scarf.

​The middelfinger cost less than the goldfinger, four to six. He puzzled over it and changes in spelling.

​The exhibit was about the human body, a celebration of the physical body, but the paintings were paintings of photographs, images of images.

​Growing, skin thickens. She had forgotten the steel skillet had been in the oven. When she grabbed the handle, pain  but then  no visible  damage.

​Images of images. Flattening occurs when subjects are not rendered from life. In order to see the subject, look past the photograph.

(For violation of the) Protection of the best widows of earl-kind, L shillings pays . . . for the third (class serving-woman) XXX scætta.

​If a man strikes off the little finger, eleven scillinga gebete.
He said, “Why? That’s more than the middle.”


   Italicized sections are literal translations of Old English (and partial translations in some cases) from the laws of Æthelberht of Kent, written between 600 and 616.

 Scætta: a coin worth one-twentieth of a shilling in Æthelberht’s Kent.




Amanda Frost recently completed her Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing at the University of Kansas where she now teaches English. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin where she was a Michener Fellow. She was nonfiction editor of Beecher’s Magazine and was associate editor of Bat City Review. Her most recent work appears in Blue Island Review, Coal City Review, and Able Muse