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.