Plain China


by Robert Miller · St. Olaf College · Honorable Mention in Poetry
Beach Tree, Brittany Kleinschnitz · Bennington College

to the public museum

          of road kill,

where you can explore

animal anatomy by foot

          or be left

to learn

the taste of acid

          curdled, as the dead do

just before they pass,

or to think of rotting

          as time,

to learn what lies beyond

swarms of flies. Attention is admission

          and the hours are unbearable,

drawn long in decay

with each passing.

          There is less to see

and more to uncover

as the hair

          and then flesh fall

away, revealing

the secrets of bodies. Peering between bones,

          an effort to study

a muddied diorama of what is

left behind when we


          find our bodies

on display.

About the Author

Robert Miller · St. Olaf College

Robert Miller was born, raised, and left in the Midwest, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. You can find him living in Minneapolis, where he enjoys working with his hands, exploring cities and parks, seasons, and making the perfect cup of coffee. His poem first appeared in St. Olaf College’s literary journal, The Quarry

About the Artist

Brittany Kleinschnitz · Bennington College

Brittany Kleinschnitz 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. Beach Tree first appeared in the Silo.