The Fourth River

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Tributaries: “Practical Augury”

By on September 13, 2017

By Carrie Laben   It’s one of the most laid-back forms of fortune telling. No special potions or smokes required, no messy entrails, no cards to shuffle and no tea cups to rinse. Just tip your head back and look

Tributaries: “The Snapping Turtle”

By on September 6, 2017

By Karen J. Weyant   The road near Benson Pond is always littered with roadkill. Twisted deer legs lie tangled in weeds, dead raccoons are knotted in cattails, and mounds of porcupine quills puncture the air. There’s matted fur and

Announcing Tributaries: The New Nature

By on September 1, 2017

A year ago we launched Tributaries, a weekly web series that “showcases the brief and the inspiring, that which sustains us and takes us through unexpected courses.” We’re proud of the work that has found its way onto our front

Tributaries: “Lake Michigan Boys”

By on August 30, 2017

 By Allen Weber   Winter never leaves suddenly. Creeping temperatures coax groans from the thickest ice, and sometimes a cocksure boy wanders too far from shore— makes an island of himself. Incensed by indecision, The rest wish it were us

Tributaries: “Willow Grove, Acrostic”

By on August 23, 2017

By Abigail Wang   Walls streaked in tape was how we left it on the last day. A father’s pride is Immutable, but at six, I swore I would never do the same when I had children, Letting them plaster

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

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

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,

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