Apr 28, 2015

Congratulations to the Winner of Harpur Palate's Undegraduate Flash Fiction Contest- Arthur Vizoskie

This spring Harpur Palate held a contest in flash fiction for undergraduates. After receiving a number of talented submissions, we chose Arthur Vizoskie with his piece "Two Stories Above Death" as the winner of our contest. Arthur was selected to read his piece at Harpur Palate's launch party on April 24th and read his piece splendidly. We chose his piece because it had great imagery that made the reader feel as if they were really transported to the scene of the story, and the metaphor throughout the piece was executed well.

Arthur is a junior at Binghamton University, who spent his first two years of college at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. This is his first year as an English major, which he is really enjoying. This piece is a part of a series of work, mainly poetry, that connects three generations of fathers and sons through the perspective of the only son who has not yet created a family of his own.

We loved Arthur's piece and wish him the best of luck in his future as a writer. We invite you to read and enjoy Arthur's piece:


It was my dad, cousin David, and I who raked the dead out of my grandfather’s pond. By now the water had turned black and an oily film rested over decaying Koi fish. Pale underbellies, the same fish from when I was young, their scales peeling like snake skin suspended in still water. My grandfather was resting two stories above us in the living room, which became normal because of his condition. Usually he’d be up in the kitchen, or outside with us in the backyard, but he could barely speak, and so we all came to see him if he, or we, wanted to talk. Before I went to join my dad and David at the pond, he told me a bit about his time as a radio engineer in World War II, and some about the times before thathow he refrained from drinking and drug use, and lived to see my sister and I grow as grandchildren that he was always proud of.

Outside, David was holding a black garbage bagmy dad, the rake, as I made my way down the steps. We stared at the still pond not saying a word. I looked back and saw my grandmother watching from the kitchen window, just a room over from my grandfather, whose chair faced away from the only window in the room. My dad began fishing out the carcasses with the rake, David soon handed me the bag and stepped out of the stench for a breath.  Everything had turned black with rotthe fish, the plants, the walls—I couldn’t look away and neither could my dad or David. We had all fed those fish and watched them grow, my grandfather made sure of it.