The Fourth River

A journal of nature and place-based writing, published by Chatham University's MFA in Creative Writing Programs

Essay: “Morning Beat,” by Wendy Gist

By on March 23, 2016


From The Fourth River Issue 10


“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time –

                                like to have a friend takes time.” -Georgia O’Keeffe



Buttery sunshine spreads smooth over juniper dabbed dirt. Blue heron plunges from pine fluff, skims lake green as gunpowder tea. Shores smell of moss, dead carp, of stink-bait. Light exposes an orgy of insects, glints the bustle like an unearthly galaxy of eye-level stars: black butterflies, bluebottle fly wings. Ensy-teensy helicopter dragonflies hover black and white as law books, the buzzing beauties tinkle noses, orbit human skulls. The way: Indian paintbrush, wild morning glory, New Mexico thistle, buckhorn cholla. Lichen-coated rocks dry we mount, footfall down, up, look, oh: “There’s a dragonfly orange as habanero.” Mud hen carves a V that changes to I back to M bold, dunks under green water. Vim. Read more…


Recap from Table 1020: The Fourth River at AWP

By on April 8, 2016

By Kelly Kepner, Managing Editor, The Fourth River   This year, The Fourth River staff traveled to Los Angeles for the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference. Our staff packed suitcases with one hundred copies of Issue 13/Climate


Trashed But Not Forgotten

By on March 21, 2016

By Kim Hambright, assistant editor, The Fourth River   Have you ever meandered along a sandy beach in the early morning looking for conch shells or weathered bits of sea glass? The salt air intoxicates you, and it’s not unusual


The Ayoreo and our Failure of Imagination

By on March 16, 2016

  By Stephanie Vega, assistant editor, The Fourth River   The Chaco region of Paraguay houses some of the most biodiverse and unique ecosystems, from the Gran Chaco thorn forest to the wetlands of the Pilcomayo. The thorn forest of