by Kate Simonian

When I fish it out of the shower sinkhole, I’m not sure what I’m looking at. Then I see the filaments. Strands of hair—yours and mine—that have gathered matter until fused into a bacterial mat thick enough for me to grab with forceps and dump on the tile. I prod it. It smells like earth and is coated with the kind of grey suede that I am attracted to in shoes that I can never afford. I think, I should have bought those shoes. Then, He should be doing this. Should I throw the filth out the window? Bin it, bottle it, eat it? Toss it into the sink and let the faucet flow tug it to pieces, like your body, my love? Sinkholes are out of my ambit. I do what I can. I gather it in my hands, this last thing we have made.

Kate Osana Simonian is an Armenian-Australian writer. She attends the English PhD program at Texas Tech as a Presidential Fellow. In 2017, she won the Nelson Algren Award and received a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her work has been published by, or is forthcoming in, Ninth Letter, The Kenyon Review Online, The Chicago Tribune, and The Best Australian Stories. She is working on a story collection and a novel.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Sinkhole”?

“Sinkhole” was written after the common experience of stumbling on something that reminds you of an ex-lover. A decaying mass that one feels tenderly towards seemed to be a fair metaphor for the memory of a fraught relationship. On a larger level, I’ve always been interested in the grotesque and how it can approach the beautiful. The process of grieving often performs this elision and the short form itself, in its terseness, felt like the right container.


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.

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