by Jared Joseph

you are really not supposed to brush your teeth or smoke cigarettes if you normally do even drink coffee black so some people stop coffee a few days before to avoid that headache. Did I ever tell you grandpa jack’s dad, great grandpa Nathan Weinberg the rabbi smoked, he died in his 50’s when I was 3, but on every sabbath he gave up smoking cause that’s what you are supposed to do, back then dentists did not even wear gloves when they worked on patients, imagine that, touching a patient with your bare hands.

Jared Joseph lives in Iowa City pursuing his MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Works appear in Radioactive Moat & elimae among some other journals while his chapbook “Commuting: Have Gone to Ithaca. -Frank Quitely” is available at Varmint Armature, an imprint of Trnsfr magazine. He blogs at www.jaredjosephharvey.tumblr.com.

This piece originally came to us untitled, and when we asked for a title, you gave us “Sabbath.” Why that title? Does it change the piece to have that title rather than the original “untitled”? If so, in what way?

    It is easier to imagine touching a patient with your bare hands if the patient is unnamed. A title establishes a certain set of expectations that distance the reader – in this case – from the object meant for reading. The text then is meant for interpretation, the reader must make strict & closed approaches towards it. If the object is, however, let’s say found in the street, its anonymity & lack of ownership or title renders it more vulnerable to intimacy, to handling, its materiality glitters & so too its viscera.

    “Sabbath” then is a distraction that doesn’t distract. It is a spatially central word in the text & therefore both major edges pull at it equally, the feet & the head bend towards the center & thereby end up only announcing themselves & obscure Sabbath, which is a time of rest & reflection, which is what you are / supposed to do.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now closed. The reading period for standard submissions opens again March 15, 2023. Submit here.


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08/26 • John Arthur
09/02 • TBD
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