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1st place

Safe, Somewhere by Baird Harper

Safe, Somewhere by Baird Harper

Legend had it, if you left your truck running in the alley behind the Thunderbird Motel, laid a ten-dollar bill on the front desk, and asked the clerk for a cherry donut, a woman would appear and take you to her room.

The Odyssey by Jia Tolentino*

The Odyssey by Jia Tolentino*

An 18-wheeler carrying ten thousand kilos of watermelons had wrecked spectacularly, spilling its cargo from a height of two kilometers, near the peak of the Tu-Ashu mountain pass that looms over the cold northern provinces of Kyrgyzstan.

Stalled Symphony by Liesl Wilke

Stalled Symphony by Liesl Wilke

The women in the Hearthstone Mall bathroom are not unlike horses at the gate, competing in a race they don’t understand, didn’t sign up for, won’t admit exists.