Plain China


by Brittany Kleinschnitz · Bennington College
Kew Gardens, Lorraine Blatt · Grinnell College

A cow lies in a paddock,
a dead eucalyptus.
A cow lies in a paddock,
dead, beside the fence.
A sheep scratches its wooly side
on the fence, brown.
A cow and a horse share a paddock,
the paddock is not yet burning.


There I am on the cliffside
above the stone water,
above the dam on the cliff rock.
On the bus, I question the authenticity
of this experience.
A girl has drowned in France
and at evening, the body on the bank
bloats white, the skin blues.
In the morning
a dog finds her but does not whimper.
In the afternoon
the same dog herds wooly sheep
through matchstick trees.
The eucalyptus peels her own skin off
in downward pinkish curls.


A farmer skins the dead cow by hand.
The meat is pinkish and heavy,
much like the milk. Intestines
bloat white in the heat, blue-veined.
Atop the beehive boxes passers-by
place towers of rock totems,
or tie their boots by the laces
to barbed wire fences.

About the Author

Brittany Kleinschnitz · Bennington College

Brittany Kleinschnitz currently resides in North Bennington, Vermont, where she received her B.A. from Bennington in 2013, focusing in visual arts and literature. Her background is in analog photography, which she began practicing as a freshman in high school. She enjoys traveling and working with animals, and often photographs and writes about her experiences. Her poem first appeared in Bennington’s Silo

About the Artist

Lorraine Blatt · Grinnell College

Lorraine Blatt is a fourth-year psychology major from Hartford, Connecticut. As a child she carped and protested while her mother stopped to take photographs at every industrial site or eccentric front door. She can’t say her mother never gave her anything. Her work was first featured in The Grinnell Review.