Plain China

January 2017

Your Accent is Almost Gone

Tulika Varma · University of California

is it the way the Rs roll off my tongue, streams rolling over river rocks, is it the way the letter A is wrapped in my throat, not behind my teeth

Electrodes

Benjamin Walls · University of Cincinnati

Maple brush sifting thick curls awakens spiteful currents— traveling to your fingertips— bridging a circuit with the brass door knob— giving your hand a quick jolt.

Djembe

Cyndee Devereaux · University of Florida

I couldn’t bring myself to take them home— the items sealed in the evidence bag

Girls With Teeth

Mariel Catherine Stratford · American Univeristy

Mom gave me a lift to Thalia’s house, because she needed the car for work and didn’t want me biking on the main road after dark. “Are you sure that’s the right address?” Mom asked when I told her where it was. “Lake Fox is a real nice neighborhood. Didn’t realize it was part of the school district.” I shrugged. “Apparently her dad was some big-shot surgeon in Chicago.”

Oso Mudslide

Emma Van Dyke · University of Iowa

Is this what the world looks like to you after half a bottle, Ed? Mountains raging down like drunken fathers? You’re intimately familiar with the slam of stone against stone. Speak with me, wild boy: after all, you saw your own father ramrod in a chair, alone with his ravenous God.

Jonesing

Tyrek Greene · Wheaton College

and isn't it crazy how cocaine ate through my family like vultures? the powder dances in both my grandfathers' noses.

The Smut Spectrum

Ethan Loewi · Harvard University

Aiden's porn addiction began, unsurprisingly, with porn. For the first 15 years of his life—or really just the past three, in this context—he'd had to make do with his imagination, a few war-torn issues of Penthouse inherited from Uncle Rico, and a copy of Anaïs Nin's Delta of Venus that his parents had overlooked in their curation of the family shelves. “Sex,” thought Aiden, as he flipped single-handedly through the one about the mermaid and the necrophiliac, “is insane.”

Owed to the State

Alex Hart · University of Cincinnnati

O Memorandum, thou anonymous gift, Thy narrow saffron figure reflects into glass, Camouflaged in radiant, fiery tones, as Apollo’s chariot hurtles toward its terminus

Your Accent is Almost Gone

Tulika Varma · University of California

is it the way the Rs roll off my tongue, streams rolling over river rocks, is it the way the letter A is wrapped in my throat, not behind my teeth

Electrodes

Benjamin Walls · University of Cincinnati

Maple brush sifting thick curls awakens spiteful currents— traveling to your fingertips— bridging a circuit with the brass door knob— giving your hand a quick jolt.

Djembe

Cyndee Devereaux · University of Florida

I couldn’t bring myself to take them home— the items sealed in the evidence bag

Girls With Teeth

Mariel Catherine Stratford · American Univeristy

Mom gave me a lift to Thalia’s house, because she needed the car for work and didn’t want me biking on the main road after dark. “Are you sure that’s the right address?” Mom asked when I told her where it was. “Lake Fox is a real nice neighborhood. Didn’t realize it was part of the school district.” I shrugged. “Apparently her dad was some big-shot surgeon in Chicago.”

Oso Mudslide

Emma Van Dyke · University of Iowa

Is this what the world looks like to you after half a bottle, Ed? Mountains raging down like drunken fathers? You’re intimately familiar with the slam of stone against stone. Speak with me, wild boy: after all, you saw your own father ramrod in a chair, alone with his ravenous God.

Jonesing

Tyrek Greene · Wheaton College

and isn't it crazy how cocaine ate through my family like vultures? the powder dances in both my grandfathers' noses.

The Smut Spectrum

Ethan Loewi · Harvard University

Aiden's porn addiction began, unsurprisingly, with porn. For the first 15 years of his life—or really just the past three, in this context—he'd had to make do with his imagination, a few war-torn issues of Penthouse inherited from Uncle Rico, and a copy of Anaïs Nin's Delta of Venus that his parents had overlooked in their curation of the family shelves. “Sex,” thought Aiden, as he flipped single-handedly through the one about the mermaid and the necrophiliac, “is insane.”

Owed to the State

Alex Hart · University of Cincinnnati

O Memorandum, thou anonymous gift, Thy narrow saffron figure reflects into glass, Camouflaged in radiant, fiery tones, as Apollo’s chariot hurtles toward its terminus