Plain China

December 2013

Wake

Daniel Grammer · Louisiana State University

Pa says the ducks are still here because I’ve been feeding them all our bread. But the truth is they took refuge under our dock during the storm that dripped rain down our walls. He’s tried throwing sticks and rocks, and at one point he even sent me after them with his patch-job net. Seems that no matter how bad he wants them gone, he’ll never be able to scare them off for good.

Dissection

Dana Diehl · Susquehanna University · Nonfiction Prize Winner

When you peel back the skin of the dead lab rat, it’s like stripping the rind of an orange. You can smell the preservation chemicals, a sweet, over-ripe-fruit smell, and it stings the back of your nose.

Incident on Route 46

Doreen St. Félix · Brown University

In a poorly upholstered driving seat, middle age is approaching a quiet, coughing woman much faster than it is her husband because she is a quiet and coughing woman.

This Mustang, Who Speaks For Her

William "Jared" Parmer · Florida State University

They made this Mustang in 1968 and called it a 1969 Fastback. It had none of the special options packaged with it—it was not a Boss, not a Mach I. It was meant to go to a man of humble means, someone who knew how to have fun but didn’t need the whole town noticing, so it had a 302 engine that hummed with a two-barrel carb and was painted in understated Lime Gold. By the end of the year it was tearing down country roads in south Alabama, gravel banging up its rock deflector and blasting away little chips of paint so that the car looked still-photographed, forever sparkling in the hot humid sun.

Winter Poem

J. Phillip Reed · University of Miami

Think of worst. Think of worry & woolen washer cycles.

Wake

Daniel Grammer · Louisiana State University

Pa says the ducks are still here because I’ve been feeding them all our bread. But the truth is they took refuge under our dock during the storm that dripped rain down our walls. He’s tried throwing sticks and rocks, and at one point he even sent me after them with his patch-job net. Seems that no matter how bad he wants them gone, he’ll never be able to scare them off for good.

Dissection

Dana Diehl · Susquehanna University · Nonfiction Prize Winner

When you peel back the skin of the dead lab rat, it’s like stripping the rind of an orange. You can smell the preservation chemicals, a sweet, over-ripe-fruit smell, and it stings the back of your nose.

Incident on Route 46

Doreen St. Félix · Brown University

In a poorly upholstered driving seat, middle age is approaching a quiet, coughing woman much faster than it is her husband because she is a quiet and coughing woman.

This Mustang, Who Speaks For Her

William "Jared" Parmer · Florida State University

They made this Mustang in 1968 and called it a 1969 Fastback. It had none of the special options packaged with it—it was not a Boss, not a Mach I. It was meant to go to a man of humble means, someone who knew how to have fun but didn’t need the whole town noticing, so it had a 302 engine that hummed with a two-barrel carb and was painted in understated Lime Gold. By the end of the year it was tearing down country roads in south Alabama, gravel banging up its rock deflector and blasting away little chips of paint so that the car looked still-photographed, forever sparkling in the hot humid sun.

Winter Poem

J. Phillip Reed · University of Miami

Think of worst. Think of worry & woolen washer cycles.