Tunica, MS | Matt Jones


I took up a handful of sand and ate it.
We rode, talking about the smoothness of the ride,
and I waited for my insides to turn into clay
and gum up into cake and gritty batter.
The sun through the side of the window
dressed my arm like loose flesh, asleep
and breathing shallow breaths with warm air.
The suspension is good, I thought. Nothing ever
looked so good when paired with nothing.
The ground cracked underneath the gaze of the sky that
stretched like it had nowhere to go but everything to see.
“This is what Australia must be like,” you said.
This is nothing like that. That expanse ends and dies wet.
It trickles and sinks with the pit inside me to the floor
littered with lobster bisque and volcanic jets and pre-evolution
hot with the heat that gave it time. Everything
ends up,
up and never ends.
The suspension is good,
I thought, the way we feel closer but never get that way.
I’m doing kegels right now, while you’re driving.
“I’m doing kegels right now, while I’m driving,” you said.
My head is sweaty and the air is so warm, “from all the exercise,”
you said.
I’m holding my stomach from falling out and under
the rubber and the sizzle of the mid-afternoon sun.
Tripe for the beaks that tear my insides apart.
There isn’t a rest stop for another hundred miles.
And I’m holding it.

Matt Jones is in the process of obtaining his MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Alabama. He has published works of fiction in Paper Darts, Hoot Review, and Zenfri’s Warpaint Anthology. Though he loves writing, he has always found himself devoting more than enough time to the idea of wildland firefighting. 

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