Matt Rich



FIRST THINGS FIRST: Sadie Hoagland.  I've never  met Sadie Hoagland, but my first encounter with her was  roughly nine years ago.  I was reading through the slush pile of Harvard Review    and  came upon a story called, "I Don't Care if a Broken Heart Is a Thing of the Devil Cause I Got One."  I thought,  this story is going to have to be damn good to live up to a title like that.  Boy was it.  I've been a little obsessed with her writing  ever since. It turns out that   "I Don't Care if a Broken Heart Is a Thing of the Devil Cause I Got One"  is but one chapter  of a fantastic novel, called  Strange Children, (which -- word to the wise -- is in need of a publisher) a coming of age story about a handful of teens growing up in, and later expelled from, a polygamous Mormon community.  You will find another chapter of  Strange Children,  "When the Prophet of God Is Not a Good Man," in this issue. I hope you love it as much as I do.  And if you do,   check out   another story of Sadie's  in     Issue Two...  (read more)


IN WINTER, 5 BELOW Fahrenheit is nothing. It's wry. 15 below gets your attention. 20 below and I plug my truck in. I wear choppers and stock up on dry goods and make soup and have a fire in the fireplace, and the smoke emanating from the chimney lets my neighbors know I'm okay. At 25 below the mailbox sticks shut, and I worry I'm not getting my rejection letters....  (read more)

PARRANDA by Robert Matlock

EMMETT AND I HAD LOBSTER a la Cartagenera at a little marisquería in Getsemaní. I wanted to eat somewhere in the old city, but Emmett hated tourists. Emmett finished the tail of his lobster and then cracked open the claws and teased out the last of the meat with a lobster pic. When he was done he wiped his mouth on his napkin and pushed his plate away. “Not bad for cinco mil pesos,” he said....  (read more)

Matt Rich

TWO POEMS by Daniel Evans Pritchard

THAT GIRL WHO LEFT   me breathless
Once dead to me, now dead

Extinguished in a house fire in Brighton.
How unremarkable the house looks

On the television screen...  (read more)

by Jacqueline Doyle

THEY RAN INTO LINDSAY and Adam at the mall, all of them laden with bags of Christmas gifts. Johanna was the first to see them—Lindsay tall and angular, elegant in an off-white cashmere jacket, Adam in a dark Italian turtleneck and sport coat. She was tired, and felt underdressed in her jeans and parka. She tried to pull John into the nearest store, but Adam and Lindsay had spotted them ...  (read more)

JOSIE & STANLEY by Lorie Broumand

JOSIE WORKED AT WALMART. It was an enormous building that moved into the small town of Ontario, Oregon, and changed the landscape for miles. Trees were cut down to accommodate it, as were grass and small shrubs. Men brushed gravel away with brooms. The men brought in big bins of cement and poured it out onto these places where the trees and grass and shrubs had lived. Now cars rushed by where before there were none. ...  (read more)

Matt Rich

RELAPSE by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

make a cage from splayed wings,
like the rings of an atom,
you become a nucleus in their capture;
for years, they knead you with talons,
caress you with curved beaks;
sunlight then becomes a violent thing

and I know that one day
in a sudden moment
bred from a mystic force,
he makes you laugh ...  (read more)

O, ANNIE by Karin Lewis

SHE'S MAKING A SOUND, a series of sounds really, like interrupted hiccups. They’re not unlike sounds she made when we used to make love. Now these sounds come when she’s anxious or fearful, which is more and more the case. She’s seated next to me in her new doctor’s waiting room, her hand gripping and ungripping my wrist. “It’s okay, Ann, honey,” I say, in as modulated a tone as I can muster. I put my hand over hers and pat-rub, slowly and softly...  (read more)


WHEN SHE FIRST SAW the body in the river as she peered over her shoulder, Jane thought it was a large branch downed in the night’s long storm. She’d glanced back in a routine check for other boats, distracted by her attempt to avoid thinking about the argument they’d had again the night before. She was wondering where she’d left the big hedge trimmers and whether the town collected garden clippings in October; the wisteria was crushing the wooden lattice propped against the side of the house, waiting for Monique’s heirloom roses to arrive in the spring...  (read more)

FOUR POEMS by Abby Minor

1. ALTHOUGH THE HISTORY of the United States shows acts of velour and courage
2. although any of various fabrics with a pile or napped surface
3. I don’t care if you’re red, white, pink, or purple
4. it has become clear that some students celebrated Halloween in a manner that / offended others
5. have you ever looked up your Congressional District representatives? 
6. shit, man....  (read more)

PISCARY by Steven J. Rogers

ON WEEKENDS MADDIE BROUGHT her kid to work. He’d sit alone in the break room, work on homework, and eat candy bars from the vending machine. It was hard not to feel bad for him — the break room was like the third circle of hell. Limbo. And not the kind from Dante’s Inferno, where at least you’d get to hang out with Caesar and Brutus. Just the boring kind....  (read more)

Matt Rich

MAYBE by S. Frederic Liss

HE SMOOTHED THE POCKET square in the breast pocket of his suit coat and tugged on his shirt sleeves revealing a quarter inch of white and his cuff links — sprigs of parsley dipped in gold — as he descended in the elevator to the lobby of his building. He was on the way to his third date with Darci Lippincott, dinner and the ballet, same as the first two. Watching the floor numbers light up, then go dark, he felt the strain of the day dissolve...  (read more)

Matt Rich

“THROUGH ART I EXPLORE and reconstruct the magical idealism of mid-twentieth-century advertising, popularized by the likes of LIFE Magazine. I transfer these sentiments to a parallel universe of my own creation, constructed of text and figurative imagery, oftentimes containing metaphors and splashes of humor. ”