Plain China

A National Tragedy

by Olivia Weissblum · Pomona College
Amalfi Coast, Eliza Delaney · University of Vermont

On the day the sky wept

             blood over Texas

                   we stood together

             a little apart


Bad posture against

          chalky aluminum fence,

                   braids pulled tight

          and neat beneath the sometimes


Clear and lying blue infinity.

          She turned to me, nonchalant

                   with a whoosh of plaid skirt

          and a click of Mary Janes,


Fixing me with a tepid gaze—

          I don’t really care at all, she said.

                   It’s not as if I knew them.

         My conscience relaxed then


Exhaling through my shoulders.

         Me neither, I whispered.

                   Then she told me a myth

         she had heard that morning


About a human head

         that fell from Heaven

                   and onto the roof

         of someone’s Toyota.


I aligned my toes

         with a crack in the ground

                   and leaned all the way

         forward until nothing


But the very tips

         of my fingers clinging

                   to the metal twists

         kept me from falling.

About the Author

Olivia Weissblum · Pomona College

Olivia Weissblum is a third-year student at Pomona College in Claremont, California. She is majoring in philosophy and minoring in computer science and religious studies in the hopes of someday becoming a science fiction writer and/or roboethicist. In her spare time, she enjoys meteor showers, magical realism, radical honesty and fluffy blankets.

About the Artist

Eliza Delaney · University of Vermont

Eliza Delaney graduated in 2012 with an art history degree. Born in New York City, she moved to Oklahoma at the age of 13. Her photography is inspired by her extensive travels around the country and abroad. Eliza currently resides in Brooklyn, where she is pursuing a career in the arts.