The Fourth River

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

Tributaries: “Beaver as Fairy Drag Mother”

By on August 16, 2017

By Matty Layne Glasgow


The trees are queer magic,
just look at them. Branches
arch to sky like soft-wristed
arms, hands twirl overhead
doing the leafshutter in the
evening breeze. I watch you
girdle a willow on the river’s
edge. Beneath his thick green
weave of oval leaves, you
incise a waist
for him, you
make an
of his
one bite at
a time. His body
knows how the years
pass in rings within him,
but you carve through that
history, fashioning him a tooth-
chipped corset. Then you scurry
down, and we watch that willow
sway. You wait for him to fall like
a drunk on a broken heel, for his
finger-leafed hands to press into
your riverbed. But I, I want this
diva to stay on his feet, to find his
balance with the wind because
sometimes, we need to know a
deciduous queen can rise again,
even after she falls.



Matty Layne Glasgow is a pixie of a poet and MFA Candidate in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University where he teaches social justice rhetorics and serves as the Poetry Editor for Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. Matty’s work has appeared or is forthcoming from journals here and there, including The Blueshift Journal, Wildness Journal, Rust & Moth, Flyway, and TheNewVerse.News, which recently nominated him for a 2017 Pushcart Prize.


Tributaries: “Diagnostics”

By on August 9, 2017

By Lora Rivera   Your eyes go bright, green as creosote. “This here’s a good placement. Lots of surface area. Solid rock.” Tap-tap. “Now this…” Tock-tock. “Hollow,” I mutter. Nuts, cams, anchors: Sport climbing’s one thing. This’ll be my first


Tributaries: “A Cottage”

By on August 2, 2017

By nv baker   Her house is what could be called a cottage, but that’s not a regional term, not a colloquialism. Her home is an old adobe. Old, corrugated roof casting blindness in the sun, roof tin peeling backwards