The Argus asked our readers and writers to tell a story—any story. The number and quality of the entries exceeded our expectations, and we want to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who shared their stories. The contest welcomed any format, and because most writers chose poetry, we evaluated the entries irrespective of genre. Instead, our criteria for publishing entries included the story’s premise, strength of image, and economical use of words. A board of six editors picked their ten favorite entries, which we have compiled below for your enjoyment, in no particular order. Congrats to the winners!

Luna Dragon Mac-Williams ’22

A SALTY HAIKU

to the gentleman
seated near me in olin
who’s breathing loudly

stop it. please just stop.
though rhythmic, it is grating
and reminiscent

of a wheezing cat.
i’m truly very sorry
if you are ailing

for it would be rude
to put you on blast thusly
when you are unwell.

but the constant whoosh
like an incessant faucet
dripping: far too much.

granted, i am not
getting work done anyway.
still this: you’ve been warned.

Sammy Osmond ’22

One-Eyed and Red

It was black
And almost late
And the road
Was almost real

When the One-Eyed Truck
Stung
Through the dusk
With black
And squealing wheels

Oh what a scream

The kind
Of monster
Which every limb
Can feel

A scream
That woke the dead

It was woodpecker red
Beneath its treads
Still water
Squelched a sob

I hit a possum
A few miles back
It’s going
To finish the job.

Chloe de Montgolfier ’22

Summer has come,
people go out and bodies move around the city.

Red, purple, blue

On the streets,
lovers are dazzled by the sun,
glued to each other giving off a mix of sweat and cheerfulness.

Some would argue that their happiness is temporary…
Characteristic of an innocent age.

Red, purple, blue

Others carry melancholy,
they look ahead without seeing.

Red, purple, blues

Tomorrow I’ll go out.
I’ll go down to the river to start writing again,
and perhaps catch a glimpse of a lonely mess in the reflection of my own loneliness.

Red, purple, blue

Red, purple blues

Emily Chackerian ’20

Felix knew this was it. He chuckled. Off all the ways to go, he was going to die at the hands (paws?) of a wolf.

A wolf.

In Paris.

And not on the edge of Paris, where one would normally find all sorts of beasts, but in the heart of town. Why, Notre Dame was only a short walk from his musty hiding spot.

Mother was going to be so disappointed.

Death by dysentery, she’d have understood. But wolves?

“Idiot boy. Couldn’t die a valiant death, eh? Had to get himself eaten by a wolf.”

It was just his luck.

Olivia Lopez ’21

-not mine-

I try to capture you in words
And your coffee stains and
All of our memories are
Caught there like picture frames

I’m addicted to your light
Smoking words between your lips in the night.

But you’re not mine.

Wrapped in sheets you look divine.
All I need is you

I’m high

In that room, where we smoked our
stories, clouding the air in mourning,
the curtains slowly moving with us.
We dance
our eyes start drifting
sky sings the world is listening
to that room, is our room, is our room.

You left so soon.

Ben Sarraille ’19

in the gym, today, i saw two bros meet by the bench.

“you done with this?” one asked.

“nah” came the reply.

“can i rotate in?”

“yeah, sure”

at first, they stood awkwardly apart, waiting their turn. then they became bolder. they cheered each other on. they spotted each other. they compared biceps and max bench press.

soon, their workouts ended. their sets were finished, and it was time to go. still, they did not grieve. the two who met as bros parted, now as brothers.

Emma Smith ’22

Old, red Subaru Outback of privilege. You took me everywhere, I lamented. It wasn’t fair that you met your end crashed into that telephone pole, with my (now ex-) girlfriend at the wheel. We both knew that you deserved a softer death, with engine stutters and a final sigh. At least now you get to rest your weary bones. Thank you for lending me your interior, for going 90 on the highway and not telling my mom, for stopping and starting when I asked you to, despite your protests. For protecting your passengers, for sacrificing yourself.

Huzaifa Khan ’22

“Neutrality?”

Neutrality. The university will not
take a stance on this dividing issue.
Freedom to choose.
Pick your own condiment.
The two-hummus solution.
“Continued political neutrality.”
Neutrality.
In the face of colonialism
In the face of apartheid
In the face of slaughter.
Neutrality, or apathy?
Active linkages to oppression
Conservative affirmative action
Blue-washing gentrification.
Neutrality, or enmity?
The status quo is fine,
because it favors
one side.

Bronwyn Commins GLSP

The older of my two sisters died of colon cancer many months ago.

Prior to Theresa’s final hospitalization, she needed help grocery shopping, the task of the mundane but healthy world. Barely able to stand, she meandered through, each trip concluded by the obligatory stop at the courtesy counter. This sweet lady’s worst vice was a penchant for instant lottery tickets  “scratch-offs” as she called them. Even when too aware of her fate, she bought and scratched, bought and scratched.

If only they made tickets with a prize of “ten more years,” or “perfect health.”

(They don’t.)

Melissa Thornton ’20

off kilter

that song about being a loaded gun
sent us off
kilter, fight or flight
instincts kicked in fell on us
like folly knocking like bruising fruit
from a finger’s touch but it was
flesh –
(we’d done a good job, though)
we swayed in sync
we were people apart –
we’d poured
water
in the doorway –
cleaned the threshold;
but that song undid
the knot locking the door
slipped the fingertip
over the trigger slid eyes over
the lines muddied
what was yours and mine
we
washed it off
we fell
in the doorway we knocked
fruit-bruising flesh
we
loaded guns

­

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