Every month, R2 runs a writing and art contest based on a prompt we decide earlier in the month. October's month was "Our Monsters," and we had to choose between some incredible pieces on a variety of topics. The winner of the contest was "A specimen of Bulimia nervosa, observed in captivity" by Sonia Hamer, and can be found in the Thresher this month, along with the winning art submission, "Can't Let Go" by Justin Bishop.
However, we'd also like to shed some light on two pieces we designated as runners-up. In no particular order, here are our two honorable mentions from this month: "Mawyer" and "Counting Sheep."
Your roommate beats his mother.
When you told me, I couldn’t picture
this polite, loving, red-cheeked
boy calling her a pussy-faced bitch and
punching her when he thought you weren’t
looking. You drank beer and
watermelon vodka, and sunburned on
Rehoboth beach; you ate his grandmother’s
bad cooking, bet on the World Cup;
you flirted with Scottish and Slovakian girls, all with him,
and you tell me all this over the phone as I lie in my
yellow dorm bed picking strands of dried grass from
the sheets. I hear your deep voice travel though
the air and radiate from cell towers
and I can hear you say that I too am a stupid bitch
for not knowing the definition of imbroglio.
You have turned into vinegar while I was gone.
I miss you baby, you soften. And I’ll kill him if
he touches you. Well, okay, I say. Well, okay.
It used to take my parents a good night kiss and a wind up music box to tuck me in. Now I've got it down to a game of make-believe in my bed or sometimes yours. I wish I could count sheep but instead I'm counting the ways you could be touching me and you're not.
The glow in the dark stars on my ceiling don't last all night. They fall asleep before I make it home, and the heavens don’t wait up for me anymore. So I leave the curtains open. Maybe some passerby will take pity and stand guard at my window until the war is won. It hardly matters one way or another. I'm here until morning, embracing a corpse and a tongue-scaled dragon all tangled up in my blankets. They come by the darkness like clockwork in my blood. That's why I sunrise in a sweat, raw-throated and panting against the wall.
I wish I could count sheep but instead I'm counting the years between us. It's a bullshit classification but then again, so are we and maybe that's what I fell in love with anyway. It's nice seeing you, I mean. It's been lonely with nothing but a quiver of splintering arrows and the basilisk in the mirror. The couch has padding enough for one last rally so I think I'll sleep here tonight. By sleep I mean it's four o'clock and I'd do it again, again.
What I'm saying is I wish I could just count sheep but instead I'm counting the footsteps of the demons that you loaned me and you know I guess it's what I donned the armor for but cardboard isn't enough against a lifetime of hellhounds and broken words and I think I could use another cup of coffee or maybe just a bedtime story.