Plain China

February 2018

Friday Morning

Danny Duffy · University of Florida

One Friday, when I was fourteen, I woke with a fever and convinced my mother to let me stay home. I slept maybe an hour more, a real break from routine. As I came down the stairs, I heard a Spanish voice beckon me from the record player. At first, I thought it was a fever dream. I couldn’t recall a time when my parents had used the wooden thing, kept under a pile of coffee table books. Near the bottom of the stairs, I saw a woman named Esther Borja on the LP cover. She stared back at me, lips held together in disapproval, like my grandmother during a conversation about politics.

The Newly-Minted Dyke

Tori Walls · Shippensburg University

I felt like a butch for being exactly who I was in that moment. But it had nothing to do with being in love with you.

How to Have an In-Vitro Fertilization Baby

Evan Dulaney · University of Cincinnati

First, make sure you’ve tried every possible method. Peer at Jenn’s list, an inventory of conception tricks longer than a wedding DJ’s playlist. Drink less caffeine. Check. Eat more fish. Check. Lay flat with feet raised after copulating. Check. Suspend like a vampire bat after copulating. Check. Spooning. Check. Forking. Check. Jenn will say: “We’ve tried every trick in the book. Maybe we should get checked out.” Try again for good measure.

Sugarcane

Alex Zhang · Columbia University

My father’s calloused hands force sugarcane broken as he pulls leaves clean from stalks.

An Adjustment

Drew Brashaw · Loras College

Sometimes a claims adjuster stands up during an HR meeting and walks out of the office, drives away and keeps on driving, because of a glacial tarn somewhere in the Rockies. His co-workers talk about him as though he’s committed suicide.

The Nudist on Pine Street

Christina Sun · University of Massachussetts

Mr. Walker didn’t give us a warning or indication of any kind when he decided to become a nudist.

Galway, Ireland 1993

Andrew Cushen · University of Florida

Friday, Kristin cuts vegetables into finer things, searches the weekly chicken like a dead body. The bones are boiling away for soup— six o'clock and the house is Catholic for the day.

Friday Morning

Danny Duffy · University of Florida

One Friday, when I was fourteen, I woke with a fever and convinced my mother to let me stay home. I slept maybe an hour more, a real break from routine. As I came down the stairs, I heard a Spanish voice beckon me from the record player. At first, I thought it was a fever dream. I couldn’t recall a time when my parents had used the wooden thing, kept under a pile of coffee table books. Near the bottom of the stairs, I saw a woman named Esther Borja on the LP cover. She stared back at me, lips held together in disapproval, like my grandmother during a conversation about politics.

The Newly-Minted Dyke

Tori Walls · Shippensburg University

I felt like a butch for being exactly who I was in that moment. But it had nothing to do with being in love with you.

How to Have an In-Vitro Fertilization Baby

Evan Dulaney · University of Cincinnati

First, make sure you’ve tried every possible method. Peer at Jenn’s list, an inventory of conception tricks longer than a wedding DJ’s playlist. Drink less caffeine. Check. Eat more fish. Check. Lay flat with feet raised after copulating. Check. Suspend like a vampire bat after copulating. Check. Spooning. Check. Forking. Check. Jenn will say: “We’ve tried every trick in the book. Maybe we should get checked out.” Try again for good measure.

Sugarcane

Alex Zhang · Columbia University

My father’s calloused hands force sugarcane broken as he pulls leaves clean from stalks.

An Adjustment

Drew Brashaw · Loras College

Sometimes a claims adjuster stands up during an HR meeting and walks out of the office, drives away and keeps on driving, because of a glacial tarn somewhere in the Rockies. His co-workers talk about him as though he’s committed suicide.

The Nudist on Pine Street

Christina Sun · University of Massachussetts

Mr. Walker didn’t give us a warning or indication of any kind when he decided to become a nudist.

Galway, Ireland 1993

Andrew Cushen · University of Florida

Friday, Kristin cuts vegetables into finer things, searches the weekly chicken like a dead body. The bones are boiling away for soup— six o'clock and the house is Catholic for the day.