We received word months ago that Laura Hitt’s piece, “Grown-Ups,” was selected for publication in plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing 2012 and we have been waiting excitedly to see it online.
Here’s what they said:
BENNINGTON, VT – Bennington College has launched the fourth issue of its annual anthology of premier poetry, fiction, and nonfiction selected from more than 80 American undergraduate literary journals. The new, year-round production schedule features new work posted monthly from publications of American University, Bard, Bennington, Boston College, Brown, Columbia College Chicago, Grinnell, Harvard, NYU, Susquehanna, Swarthmore, University of Tampa, and UC Berkeley, to name only a few. This is the fourth year of the anthology’s publication.
Issue Four includes work from Colorado, Dartmouth, Emerson, and Prescott Colleges, It also features an honorable mention in poetry—selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith—and artwork from Quinnipiac University, Oberlin, and Colorado Colleges, and the University of Vermont.
As poetry judge and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith commented, “These young poets make me glad for the work that is in the works, all the poems that will begin, in the next few years, to make their way into wider circulation”— a sentiment that extends to prose writing as well. Check it out.
Read Laura’s beautiful story here: http://plainchina.bennington.edu/pieces/grown-ups/
Long it seemed to the mechanic
that they had settled on prayer;
but finally the words and their implications loosened,
subsiding into the noise of the buzzing generator.
Mutilation, arson, anarchy:
the world was ablaze up there.
Troves of supplies, miles of farmland—sacked, desecrated.
A red-eyed cousin rose to offer a fractured reflection
of the past week, of the horror, and the generator rumbled on,
twisting in constant energy, trembling anger
that the mechanic hardly understood anymore.
The land, the country!
In a war waged on brothers,
families tore themselves from the throng
to find comfort in the removed dream underground.
-Blake and Zoë
Like our ancestors
We were once nomadic.
We lived off Wonderbread, sunflower seeds and cigarettes.
Nights sleeping in parking lots
when the moon looked
fuller in the light polluted sky.
The impulsive nature
radio hush or the ebb and
flow of ocean waves,
the clumsiness of
cicadas or rattling leaves.
We were dreaming
when the hours swan by and
days felt no different.
I left my words on the front step.
Your kitchen smells of winter,
the bedroom of spring.
Every morning he woke to his ceiling
briefly losing himself in its white heaven,
empty, quiet, comforting.
Like the wrinkles on his face,
the cracks appeared
growing from the corners of the ceiling,
deepening, and creaking in its’ old age
it began to collapse and gave way on top of him.
Eyes shut tight,
returning to life as he inhaled,
he exhaled out of bed.
Tom lived in a fourth story apartment
with a balcony that bathed in sunsets and sun rises.
Most days he stood a distance away from the railing,
there were few days where he had the courage
to stand close or place his hands on it.
When he did,
Like the decaying bones of a corpse
The rail would crumble apart
And he would fall over the edge.
His limbs dislocating,
his heart convulsing,
his body hugging the pavement
As he hit the ground.
He stumbled backwards into his living room
And locked the balcony door.
After breakfast he went to work.
Upon entering his car he would die once more,
A head on collision.
He watched the steering wheel crush his stomach
Watched his windshield shatter
as his whole body rattled within
The pulverized vehicle.
Looking at himself in his rear-view mirror
He starts his engine and continues his day.
No one knew how the unpredictable
fate of mortality haunted him
So much so that living meant
to die a new death every day.
Every night he drank tea before bed
But this night, as he slept,
The gas from his stove crawled about his home,
poisoning his lungs.
When he awoke to white heaven,
it didn’t creek or crack.
But simply remained blissful.
This valley is blanketed In layers of green:
clovers, moss, grasses, weeds.
And lilac too – bursts of hydrangea.
I shifted over to the boulder,
The one with a bump for neck support,
The one where had often sat shoulder to shoulder.
There were kisses and fairy tales,
Mudpies, face paint – and a proposal.
But it’s no longer personal.
A dry, hard lump, the shriveled foreskin
corn husk embalms
the white masa and a brown stain of cooked pork.
Eyes first, she offers me the tamal.
When I lift it from her grasp, her split palm opens
like dry-lipped mudcracks in Arizona in June.
The fissure on her hand crosses the life line, the love line, x-ing them out.
My pocket shimmies with coins and they fill her craters.
Here I am, hopping buses across the clay-rich countryside,
a region of Mexico that quenched Spain’s gold throat nearly five hundred years ago,
and to take a bus this woman, who could be
my great grandmother, who could be dead by now,
must steal her way onto the bus, slipping off ten minutes into the ride,
in the back pocket of a family.
It’s not about the wad of week-old tamal
or about the fact that it costs the same as the bus ride,
and that, this time, she pays it up—clinks into the driver’s neat stacks of change,
still warm from my pocket—
but feeling the gold marrow of my body
blushes my neck and my face contorts with…
And I don’t want to have it, to be burdened with gold teeth,
but now that I am, I must eat wedged tamales until I die of thirst.
I sit in my bus seat, knees pulled tight to my chest,
hugging all the pieces of myself, terrorized by their departures from each other,
by growth, by intellect, by simple observations.