The Fourth River

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.