Plain China

The Creator

by Melissa Robert · Tufts University
Secret Ocean, Janelle Sadarananda · University of Richmond

Sun beats through the blinds this morning,
awoken like a puppet—
Today I finish it.


Blankly it stares at me
the void square,
a pregnant belly ballooning out the corners,
swells past its frame, white
climbing into my room
and edging out the mahogany furniture.


The hours we sit together,
this picture, a vain child.
I cover him with paint,
cover and smother him until he quiets.

About the Author

Melissa Robert · Tufts University

Melissa Roberts graduated from Tufts with a B.A. in English and psychology. In her professional life, she continues to write poetry in the form of tweets and e-mail subject lines. Her poem first appeared in Tufts’ literary journal, Canon.

About the Artist

Janelle Sadarananda · University of Richmond

Janelle Sadarananda was born and raised in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Richmond in 2013 with a B.A. in Classical Civilization. As she pursues a PhD in archaeology, she will continue photographing the landscapes she encounters in the course of her fieldwork in the Mediterranean and Near East. Secret Ocean first appeared in the University of Richmond’s journal, The Messenger.