Plain China

April 2017

Metastasis

Claire Fallon · University of Minnesota

A week later a crescent of skin is carved out and I’m almost disappointed when it’s nothing because ever since that conversation I burst open in dreams to expose rows upon rows of pearly tumors hooked onto my organs like barnacles on a whale’s back.

Onward to Florence

Grace McCormack · Notre Dame

There is no dignified way to walk through a green plastic kiddie pool filled with 11.2 gallons of room temperature tartar sauce. The first issue, of course, is the high viscosity of the material, which promises to plunge into its depths any traveler who does not restrict their gait to a stuttering, cautious shuffle. Second is the cacophony of squeaks produced by the repeated contact of the kiddie pool’s sauce-slickened surface with the rubber soles of one’s sneakers. The worst aspect of the endeavor, however, is unquestionably the smell. Tangy and invasive, the sauce aggressively clings to every fiber of one’s clothing, soaking into one’s pores, filling the olfactory center with an urgent anger.

Trigger Warning

Nahal Amouzadeh · UCLA

"Are You Dead?" My best friend is bitter. She has become my masked enemy. When I wake up and decide today is a good day to plug my phone in, it immediately vibrates with messages that don't give warning. Her texts are bombs and they chip at the foundation I'm still building from the last round. I read them with shaky hands. 'Are you dead?' she writes over social media, and I note that seven other acquaintances have 'liked' the post. I stare at it long enough for the foundation to dismantle and disappear under my feet. And then I unplug my phone and retreat because I'm reminded that this is a war and I have just lost another battle.

All Over You Like Suburbia's Lights

Dylan Hopper · College of Charleston

Far above our paper houses, God spilled milk into the sky. Smeared clouds to make curd sunsets. Beautified that chalky orange against the white street lamps, as if to mimic a paradise, as if to say, "Never leave."

An Art (I)

Pritha Bhattacharyya · Cornell University

I saw art when I saw my mother’s prize books lining the dusty shelves of the almari in the bedroom, kept intact with newsprint covers, so I didn’t know the titles until I leafed through the pages.

At Night (II)

Pritha Bhattacharyya · Cornell University

We went to an amusement park in downtown Calcutta, with fire-breathing macho men and an artist who wrote my name on a single grain of uncooked rice.

Metastasis

Claire Fallon · University of Minnesota

A week later a crescent of skin is carved out and I’m almost disappointed when it’s nothing because ever since that conversation I burst open in dreams to expose rows upon rows of pearly tumors hooked onto my organs like barnacles on a whale’s back.

Onward to Florence

Grace McCormack · Notre Dame

There is no dignified way to walk through a green plastic kiddie pool filled with 11.2 gallons of room temperature tartar sauce. The first issue, of course, is the high viscosity of the material, which promises to plunge into its depths any traveler who does not restrict their gait to a stuttering, cautious shuffle. Second is the cacophony of squeaks produced by the repeated contact of the kiddie pool’s sauce-slickened surface with the rubber soles of one’s sneakers. The worst aspect of the endeavor, however, is unquestionably the smell. Tangy and invasive, the sauce aggressively clings to every fiber of one’s clothing, soaking into one’s pores, filling the olfactory center with an urgent anger.

Trigger Warning

Nahal Amouzadeh · UCLA

"Are You Dead?" My best friend is bitter. She has become my masked enemy. When I wake up and decide today is a good day to plug my phone in, it immediately vibrates with messages that don't give warning. Her texts are bombs and they chip at the foundation I'm still building from the last round. I read them with shaky hands. 'Are you dead?' she writes over social media, and I note that seven other acquaintances have 'liked' the post. I stare at it long enough for the foundation to dismantle and disappear under my feet. And then I unplug my phone and retreat because I'm reminded that this is a war and I have just lost another battle.

All Over You Like Suburbia's Lights

Dylan Hopper · College of Charleston

Far above our paper houses, God spilled milk into the sky. Smeared clouds to make curd sunsets. Beautified that chalky orange against the white street lamps, as if to mimic a paradise, as if to say, "Never leave."

An Art (I)

Pritha Bhattacharyya · Cornell University

I saw art when I saw my mother’s prize books lining the dusty shelves of the almari in the bedroom, kept intact with newsprint covers, so I didn’t know the titles until I leafed through the pages.

At Night (II)

Pritha Bhattacharyya · Cornell University

We went to an amusement park in downtown Calcutta, with fire-breathing macho men and an artist who wrote my name on a single grain of uncooked rice.