plain china: best undergraduate writing

Volume One : Issue Two

The Family Car


by Liza Sparks

Untitled by Alex Hay Untitled by Alexandra Hay

Rusted out hole in the bottom—
I hugged my knees to my chest
so I wouldn’t lose my shoes,
and threw black jelly beans down instead.

In the winter,
I pressed my fingertips against the glass
and drew pictures in the condensation.

In the summer,
you spit sunflower seeds
out the rolled down window,
and said—“A little dust ain’t no thing,
for dust thou art, and
unto dust shalt thou return.”

I wanted to fold the space
between me and you
and put it in my pocket—
a souvenir from wandering the road,
scrap hunting for treasure.

I will miss your skin
and the peeling paint.
Sunflower seeds will always taste
like scripture and gasoline.

About the Author


Liza Sparks

Colorado College

Liza Sparks, from Lafayette, Colorado, studied English with a concentration in 
poetry at Colorado College. She is pursuing further education in order to teach poetry at the university level. 
“The Family Car,” she says, was taken from a short story she wrote: “Sometimes less is 
more, and this turned out to be a much better poem.”