plain china: best undergraduate writing

Volume One : Issue Two


by Taylor Murrow

Untitled by Liane Al-Ghusain Untitled by Liane Al-Ghusain

What is the dirt

The dog dragged the skull from underneath the house.

Was it human

We know the way things move,
crescent, whole blocks sometimes shift
like shadows, gallows—

And what is human

References to local Catholic priests, yellowed
library books on poltergeists and exorcisms,
a mailman with a hoodoo past.

Where is the crown

with a shot of rum, a chipped mouth
glistened in the backyard sun. The dog dug at the ground.

Where is the bone

Look into the chasm and wonder
what it would be like to fall there, to crash
between the ancient rocks.

And how is the bone

Surrounded by blocks of stone
the skull must have searched for the wet earth.

What is fear

On the coldest nights he dreams that he is the road—
he can feel dirt-caked feet running along him for miles.

About the Author

Taylor Murrow

Loyola University

Taylor Murrow is a New Orleans native who recently graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor’s in English. She plans to leave for grad school in a year or two, but knows she can’t stay away from home for too long. She divides her time between poems and nachos.

Honorable Mention

"This was by far the most difficult—and most inspiring—contest I have ever judged, simply because the quality of the work was so high and so various. "

April Bernard