1st Place

Never Yours

Joaquin Bear

He is mental illness.

I hear a shuffling and a loud fake cough behind me. I know who it is. He hasn’t spoken yet, but I know him. God help me, I can smell him. Funny how that scent used to make me swoon. Now, it just makes me sick.

“Hey man.”

I turn and see him. I had not expected to see him here, of all places, but I’m not delighted. I had told him to fuck off, the last time we spoke. Never mind the last three times.

"On the Other Side," "The Place Where the Lights Don't Dim," "Been," and "Dancing Women"

Alayna Will

Introduction by Angela Hathikhanavala, Barrett Committee:

The Story of Her

Malack Jallad

When we were younger, we’d lean against the flowered sofa, our eyes fixated on the movements of Siti’s frail hands. Mesmerized, we’d watch as she massaged one month old Ali, as the olive oil would seep into the deep creases of her hands, like the rings of a tree, an indication of bittersweet age. Her youngest grandson, whom we called Aloushi, lay on the patterned rug, squirming beneath her touch. She’d continue to massage him in the olive oil, then wrap his tiny torso with the white cloth of fuschia and turquoise stripes that babies are given upon hospital birth.

Old Friends

Justin Randles

Not for the first time
nor for the last
He sat alone
filling with remorse
He said to himself,
"Did I blow it?
Did i waste my life
in a frenzy of cocaine,
methamphetamines and Vicodin?"
He waited for an answer
but it never came

Spaghetti

Justin Randles

My resilience is hard
Like her cold, dead heart.
My skin transforms into diamond.
Like Emma Frost
I’m a Marvel of survival.

I’m so hungry
I’m starving
like children in third world countries
like children in America
but I’m not hungry for her shitty spaghetti
I’m hungry for revenge

Boxes and Other Assorted Junk

Justin Randles

I smell dog shit. Not the day old, baked in midday July sun dog shit either. It is pungent and terrible. My clothes are soaked. It could be from sweat from a humid midsummer night or from the dew in the grass I am laying in.

Another, Another Day

Justin Randles

Introduction by Prof. Ruth Ann Schmitt, Barrett Committee:

Things I Forgot (Vignettes)

Justin Randles

Empty Cot

It was dusty, and visibility was shoddy. It was hot, hotter than I have ever been. I gets so hot in midday that I am convinced my feet are literally cooking inside my boots. Thank goodness, we didn’t deploy with our traditional black boots. It would have been worse. We were in route delivering propane to the people of Mosul like we have been everyday for the last couple weeks with very little incident. All good things end, sometimes those good things end in carnage and bloodshed.

“is Torre Bert on MySpace?”

Isobel Brown

“is Torre Bert on MySpace?”

i’m thinking about getting rid of Skype.
no one really logs on anymore, so i don’t talk
just linger, a dim red dwarf
fusing up slowly,
lest i miss something, someone
come to reward my vigil with hello
i was just thinking about you; and here
you are

“glancing through the past, I fear my future”

Isobel Brown

“glancing through the past, I fear my future”

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