Plain China

September 2013

of women and gods (of learning how to pray)

Lily Jamaludin · Grinell College

The first verse I memorize I repeat over and over in my head for days My tongue tripping over the letters and sounds until they become mine.

Field Notes on Hair

Vicki Yang · Columbia College Chicago

After the brain thing1 the world became divided; there were those who knew the truth about my illness, and those who knew the easy-to-swallow version I personally lubricated for them. As much as I tried to prevent it, there was the cleavage of my life’s short timeline into two separate but unequal segments: before the brain thing, when I possessed coveted big-name qualities like Radicalism and Bright-Eyed Naïveté, and after the brain thing, when I lost a little bit of those things, and also, for several months, a lot of hair.

Two Scars

James Parkington · Boston College

When I say she was something else, I mean that she reminded me of a circus.

Most Days We're Not Going Anywhere

Cody Greene · SUNY Rockland

We’re late getting back to the orchard, sure, but this doe with the broken neck is just too damn good to pass up. The way it’s smelling up the road, open and cooking, has got Denny fixed and immobile. He’s keeping back some, just saying, “Son of a bitch, Waylon. Son of a bitch,” and tries kicking at her back leg, but misses. I edge my boots as close as I can to the dried-up patch of blood on the pavement and wonder how long ago she was hit.

Buffalo

Conner McDonough · University of Tampa

A friend of mine, a long time ago, was buried alive in a snowdrift in the Old First Ward. The way he told it to me was that he was at the bar after a long day at the plant and had been drinking boilermakers. When the bar closed, he went outside and passed out in a snowdrift. “And along comes this big fuckin’ snowplow, big motherfucker, like a tank coming down the street, and just pushes snow over me.”

Extra American

Alex Cashman · University of Miami

Let the sand settle in your lungs like unwanted guests in your living room, drinking all your red wine and eating all your cheese

of women and gods (of learning how to pray)

Lily Jamaludin · Grinell College

The first verse I memorize I repeat over and over in my head for days My tongue tripping over the letters and sounds until they become mine.

Field Notes on Hair

Vicki Yang · Columbia College Chicago

After the brain thing1 the world became divided; there were those who knew the truth about my illness, and those who knew the easy-to-swallow version I personally lubricated for them. As much as I tried to prevent it, there was the cleavage of my life’s short timeline into two separate but unequal segments: before the brain thing, when I possessed coveted big-name qualities like Radicalism and Bright-Eyed Naïveté, and after the brain thing, when I lost a little bit of those things, and also, for several months, a lot of hair.

Two Scars

James Parkington · Boston College

When I say she was something else, I mean that she reminded me of a circus.

Most Days We're Not Going Anywhere

Cody Greene · SUNY Rockland

We’re late getting back to the orchard, sure, but this doe with the broken neck is just too damn good to pass up. The way it’s smelling up the road, open and cooking, has got Denny fixed and immobile. He’s keeping back some, just saying, “Son of a bitch, Waylon. Son of a bitch,” and tries kicking at her back leg, but misses. I edge my boots as close as I can to the dried-up patch of blood on the pavement and wonder how long ago she was hit.

Buffalo

Conner McDonough · University of Tampa

A friend of mine, a long time ago, was buried alive in a snowdrift in the Old First Ward. The way he told it to me was that he was at the bar after a long day at the plant and had been drinking boilermakers. When the bar closed, he went outside and passed out in a snowdrift. “And along comes this big fuckin’ snowplow, big motherfucker, like a tank coming down the street, and just pushes snow over me.”

Extra American

Alex Cashman · University of Miami

Let the sand settle in your lungs like unwanted guests in your living room, drinking all your red wine and eating all your cheese