Canvas

for teens, by teens

Canvas Teen Literary Journal is published quarterly in print, ebook, web, video, and audio formats.

when calypso first got a tattoo

rona wang


Now, here’s the thing about Calypso’s tattoo. It’s not some lame butterfly or rose like Hermes would expect. A crow on her ankle. He’s not sure how it even happened, since last he checked, there weren’t any ink parlors on Ogygia. When he asks, she smirks, eyeliner slick, half her face shrouded by a bad dye job that left her hair fifteen different shades of red. She likes to keep a mysterious edge, or as mysterious as a girl trapped on the same island for the last couple millennia can get, anyway.

At first he thought this teenage rebellion stuff was just Breakup 101. Some people go through cartons of cookie dough ice cream. Play the same three sad songs over and over. Maybe this was Calypso’s way of dealing with getting dumped by some forty-year-old guy for that MILF Penelope. But c’mon, you’d think she’d be over that after some thousand years.

He fills her in on the latest gossip: Zeus and Hera got into another spat and there was lightning everywhere, Aphrodite was flirting with mortals again, that whore. Calypso glares when he says that and he remembers how she keeps insisting there’s a double standard—he’s a stud, she’s a slut.

Hermes can’t help but wonder why Calypso didn’t get a dove or a phoenix, something more mainstream. Crows. He never liked those things. Ugly, common, and kinda creepy if you thought about it. He looks at Calypso, who’s the opposite—a nymph, ocean-light eyes sparkling in the sunlight, the queen of a lush island woven with freesias and tulips.

He tells her all this, and she just smiles thinly and traces her forearm. “Hell, maybe I’ll get the Minotaur inked right here next.”

“What! That disgusting monster?”

She scowls. “He’s just misunderstood. Locked up all the time. It’d be a badass design.”

Hermes knows right then that she somehow sees herself in all these nasty creatures, which is messed up, and he squints at her, with her pretty goddess looks, to try to figure out the resemblance.

He thinks maybe he sees a shudder of a beast yowling behind all the makeup.

But he shrugs it off. It’s just a phase, he tells himself.


Rona Wang is a sixteen year old from Portland, Oregon, who is absolutely thrilled to be mentoring prose this summer. She has studied fiction at the Iowa Young Writers' Studio and Stanford University. In addition, she has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She has been published in “The Best Teen Writing of 2014”, Canvas Literary Journal, Brouhaha Magazine, as well as Glass Kite Anthology itself. Currently, she is a poetry reader at The Blueshift Journal, which received four stars from The Review Review.

© Canvas Literary Journal 2016
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