Plain China

July 2013

Grown-Ups

Laura Hitt · Prescott College

The snow sticks lightly to the road in a pleasant way, shrinking the lanes to wet tire tracks in a delicate white landscape. This is western Massachusetts in February, quaint as pastoral England. Snowy fields, classy coffee shops, large estates. Barebones deciduous trees line the roads like patronizing forefathers. Zoë sits in the passenger seat, her baby strapped into the elaborate car seat behind us. She turns to engage him in baby banter as he squirms. “He gets fussy in the car seat,” she says.

Brother

Antonia Angress · Brown University · Honorable Mention in Nonfiction

My mother wakes me in the night. “What? It’s late here.” I try not to sound mean, but I can tell I do. I will apologize later. My mother’s voice is tinny and garbled and distant. She tells me that my brother has tried to kill himself. I note that she says “your brother” and not “David” or “Dave” or “Davie,” as though he is a stranger that only I am related to.

Alone on a New York Bound Train

Amanda Bondi · Emerson College

On the road that connects my part of town to yours, I waited for the nine o’clock night train to Penn Station. Octobers in Massachusetts smell wet, with the lingering humidity of summer and the imminent promise of snow. The train pulled onto the platform late, at 9:07, with a rumbling gray cloud of exhaust and the noise and fire of friction. I sat in the dining car, storing my leather coat and rolling briefcase under the table. I ordered an over-priced mini-bottle of cabernet, took off my shoes and settled into the ache of missing you.

Capgras Syndrome

Rebecca Rothfeld · Dartmouth College

One day you were no longer you. You’d swallowed yourself in the deep of your sleep and escaped through a door in the side of your gut.

At the Edge

Colorado College · · Honorable Mention in Poetry

Everything other than the present is terrifying.

Grown-Ups

Laura Hitt · Prescott College

The snow sticks lightly to the road in a pleasant way, shrinking the lanes to wet tire tracks in a delicate white landscape. This is western Massachusetts in February, quaint as pastoral England. Snowy fields, classy coffee shops, large estates. Barebones deciduous trees line the roads like patronizing forefathers. Zoë sits in the passenger seat, her baby strapped into the elaborate car seat behind us. She turns to engage him in baby banter as he squirms. “He gets fussy in the car seat,” she says.

Brother

Antonia Angress · Brown University · Honorable Mention in Nonfiction

My mother wakes me in the night. “What? It’s late here.” I try not to sound mean, but I can tell I do. I will apologize later. My mother’s voice is tinny and garbled and distant. She tells me that my brother has tried to kill himself. I note that she says “your brother” and not “David” or “Dave” or “Davie,” as though he is a stranger that only I am related to.

Alone on a New York Bound Train

Amanda Bondi · Emerson College

On the road that connects my part of town to yours, I waited for the nine o’clock night train to Penn Station. Octobers in Massachusetts smell wet, with the lingering humidity of summer and the imminent promise of snow. The train pulled onto the platform late, at 9:07, with a rumbling gray cloud of exhaust and the noise and fire of friction. I sat in the dining car, storing my leather coat and rolling briefcase under the table. I ordered an over-priced mini-bottle of cabernet, took off my shoes and settled into the ache of missing you.

Capgras Syndrome

Rebecca Rothfeld · Dartmouth College

One day you were no longer you. You’d swallowed yourself in the deep of your sleep and escaped through a door in the side of your gut.

At the Edge

Colorado College · · Honorable Mention in Poetry

Everything other than the present is terrifying.