by Yanna Regina Mondoñedo


Pretend you’re drowning. Hold your breath. Know that a single slip
will kill you.

Peer through the thin white line — heart
stuck in your throat. Feel fear
whisper against your ear.

Ten more seconds, and it’ll be over.
Nine more, and you can breathe.
Eight, until you’re free.

Seven, you’ll live.

Four –

Found you,
          I whisper,
and you sigh.

You ask me if I want
to play something else.


Yanna Regina Mondoñedo is a homegrown local – born, raised, and residing – in the town of Los Baños. She is currently completing her undergraduate degree in Communication Arts at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. You may also find her published piece, entitled Elvira, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.


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

I had written “underwater,” ironically, above it. I was mid-flight, from Singapore to Manila, just hours after seeing a childhood friend. Back when the Internet wasn’t as popular as it is today, we would play on gravel roads, muddy parks, or in the confines of her home. Hide and seek was one of the all-time favorites, especially on a hot summer afternoon. Part of the game, of course, was to hide until the seeker gives up, and to keep yourself still in a quiet house in sweltering heat was often only tolerable if one would pretend to embrace herself in cool, (maybe constricting, but still,) very cool water.


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 OPEN. The submission period closes June 15, 2020; submit here.


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