The Fourth River

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

Tributaries: “Single”

By on July 28, 2017

 By Lucian Mattison


The cabin window overlooks a thicket of scrub brush, pine. Sprawled
on the mattress, I’ve found something I had forgotten went missing,
but this time it fails to surprise me: paper wasp embalmed in the eaves,
beam of dust flecks cutting across the room in a constant state of rising,
sheets bunched at the foot of on an empty bed. So, this is the freedom
I desired so much—wilderness devoid of animals, hidden in the snowfall
of ashes from a nearby brush fire. I left her and a few odd belongings
behind in a city apartment for every right reason. I just opened the door
and she is already waiting for me to come back to collect them.



Lucian Mattison is an Argentinean American poet and author of ‘Peregrine Nation’ (The Broadkill River Press, 2014) and ‘Reaper’s Milonga,’ forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2017. He is the winner of the 2016 Puerto Del Sol Poetry Prize and his poems appear or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, The Boiler, Hinchas de Poesia, Hobart, Muzzle, Nashville Review, Pinwheel, and elsewhere online and in print. His fiction appears in Fiddleblack, Nano Fiction, and Per Contra. His poetry translations are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Newfound, and The Offing. He works at The George Washington University and is an associate editor for Big Lucks. To read more visit

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Tributaries: “Arkansas Anoles”

By on July 19, 2017

By Stacy Pendergrast     Before Daddy left us for New York, he told me if I could catch one of those lizards its tail would snap off. Those critters ran up and down our house all day, their true


Tributaries: “Mobius”

By on July 12, 2017

By Nat Froiland   Searing thighs stomp pedals towards radiating pavement, each pump another pressing decision. Not the reflex begun in Milwaukee’s morning rush, but a conscious twilight effort among anonymous county highways. The river races the wrong way, inviting