3rd Place

"12 Gods," "Ladies Is Trouble," and "Poem 3"

Hassan Darwiche

Introduction by Peter Kim, Barrett Committee:

Questioning a Silent Witness

Zahra Lahiji

Hear the words
chime like bells
around the city.


bones sprout where flowers
belong; insects crawl over dead
bodies; the fields are flooded
with corpses instead of water.


the mother has abandoned
her first child; the first child
cradles a baby; a baby’s cries
pierce the air instead of a lullaby.



Zahra Lahiji

i marvel at pain, how it endures
how this brittle flesh of mine takes and takes
the only sign of its tired state a rough scar

i marvel that these ears have not yet begun to bleed
despite the ugly words they have heard
and this heart, it beats still, though my mind screams for it to


how these breaths
i only have the strength rallied in a

p a u s e,

These Broken Ruins

Zahra Lahiji

He kneels on the pale marble floor,
she sits under the harsh white light
and the moment is pregnant with silence.
This house is clouded by a darkening night
and when my father starts to cry
my mother starts to scream.

The tears of hard years
carved mountains and valleys
like wrinkles across his face and hers.

In mending what is eternally broken
they have both shattered
and the rest of us are damaged, collateral

The Patchwork

Zahra Lahiji

Collecting dolls
a body count

besides myself, the scissors
seem to work best on tender flesh

I should know.

we’re lined up, picturesque
I see my brothers and sisters lean

cold against the wall
bare white room, and God

you’re hurting me

watches us with angry
tears in her eyes, making tears

in each of us. she
likes to pick and choose

you’re hurting yourself

she even does it to herself
a nose, here, there, an ear

the patchwork
is simply monstrous

The Help That Makes You Helpless

Chastity Dodd

At one point, I was an only child, and I imagine that the spotlight shone on me. I don’t remember, however, as my younger sister came along less than two years later. I also don’t remember a time when she wasn’t ill and commanded all my mother’s attention. She was diagnosed at a young age with muscular dystrophy. While my father checked out to cope, my mother grounded herself by leaping into action, doing all the research she could and doting on my sister. We didn’t have much serious illness in our family; in fact, we had several relatively accomplished athletes.

10 O'Clock on the State Street Bridge

Chastity Dodd

I didn’t really want to die. It struck me as a strange realization as I stood on the edge of the pedestrian path on the bridge, looking down at the dark water below, and contemplating the jump that I had been hoping would end my life. Despite my decision, though, it was true that death was not the optimal answer to my problems. I did wish there was a different way. All I really wanted was for the pain to end. I wanted to stop suffering, to stop fucking everything up, and had reached the point that I thought that this was the only way.

Act Four

Brendon Vincent

in spring we welcome budding leaves;
With us longing to rest beneath them in summer's heat.
Then autumn paints the sky with auburn gems as it takes a noble 's seat,
And Winter to steal it away with its unseen thieves.

Blushing at a Distance

Brendon Vincent

The first time we met
was at a greyhound station in the hills of Tennessee.
Even though we had known each other for well over a year.
If anything,
my visit was overdue.
It's funny how I decided to look so far away for companionship.
Based out of Metro Detroit,
there were plenty of options nearby.
Kids in my high school were out and open, about who they were and who they liked
yet I hesitated to do the same. As if there was an uncertainty and a fear built out of it.
That sense of distance created a sense of security.


Brendon Vincent

Introduction by Prof. Angela Hathikhanavala, Barrett Committee:


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