Now Reading


by Matt Greene

It was spring and the hills were irradiant, like they had to get out all their green in one short burst before catching fire. We walked up and down and along ridges, cutting through brush, collecting burs. We came upon a road and followed it until it forked. On the left was a dump site with a washer and a dryer. Some kind of silicone sex doll rested on a mattress, its head cut off and replaced with a baby doll’s. There was a rumor our town had a Hell Gate, that you could get lost and find yourself warped to the underworld. Here it was, this discharge portal, cradled in the hills’ optimism, a cigarette emberring near the plastic corpse tracking proximity. We watched wisps of smoke rise and dissipate, something distinct and familiar in their movement. The Hell Gate was itself a kind of hope. We were not immutable. Long after we disintegrated, the plastic would endure. We were junk, fragile walking junk.

Matt Greene holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University and teaches English composition in Appalachia. “Junk” and “Slabs” are part of a linked series of prose pieces, some of which have appeared in Arts & Letters, the Cincinnati Review, Hobart, Split Lip, Wigleaf, and other journals. Other work appears in or is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Conjunctions, DIAGRAM, and Santa Monica Review, among other journals.

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