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The Hollow in Downey, Idaho

by Austin Newton

I used to hug my father

from behind while he steered

a red four-wheeler through

a craggy hollow near my grandmother's house.

I dreamed of one day piloting

the four-wheeler like 


the boys across the road with their dirt bikes.

Their names were Kelby and Matt and

their dad let them have caffeine.

They used to do this trick

where they would flip their eyelids and

expose the veiny, red tissue beneath them,

a feat of corporal manipulation

that once sent me reeling hysterically to 


the safety of my grandmother's house.

I've always had a rope festooned to the dock,

my boat writhing gently with the sea,

never swallowed by the gaping deluge thrashing about yonder.

Safety is the altar before which

I kneel to worship in reverent agony

while outside, the tide swells and convulses.


This morning, my mother told me that

Matt killed himself with tears

in her eyes. It might've been 

the divorce that killed him,

or maybe the drugs, but it was probably

the vast, empty plain with too much sunlight

and not enough people to talk to.

About the Author

Austin Newton resides in Portland, Oregon and attends Portland State University where he is a student of the BFA program for creative writing. Outside of writing, he likes to skateboard and hike. His work has previously appeared in Pathos, Portland State’s literary magazine.

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