by Dominic Viti


[Editor’s Note: This piece is part of the “Topical” series, with each piece solely submitted to and chosen by the Final Reader Pietra Dunmore.]


My artist friend lived in a studio above a rough bar. Because of the excessive noise, rent was very low, and over the years he grew accustomed to, even dependent on, the shouting and fighting to fall asleep. Recently the bar closed due to the pandemic, and to compensate for lost income, the landlord raised the rent far beyond the budget of a fledgling painter. However, my friend told me he was relieved to have been evicted. The silence of the empty bar kept him up for weeks. He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t create. The light rustling of vagrants outside, the scratching of mice in the walls and ceiling, magnified a threat far greater than the knife brawls and pool cue melees. Reliant on human violence, and unable to find a new studio of complementary terror, my friend attacked his landlord with the For Sale sign. The artist has since been in prison, producing the best work of his career and finally, at long last, getting a decent night’s sleep.


Dominic Viti’s short stories appear in Harvard Review, The Penn Review, Lifelines, Beloit Fiction Journal, and Chorus, a collection published by Simon & Schuster. He works in advertising and lives in Portland, Oregon.


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

“Sleep” is inspired by my inability to sleep in quiet places. Having lived in major cities most of my adult life, I rely on outside noise for inner peace.


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 reading period for standard submissions closes June 15, 2021. Topical Thursdays’ submissions are open year-round. Submit here.


04/08 • Dominic Viti
04/10 • Nancy Connors
04/12 • Niles Reddick
04/14 • Martins Deep
04/15 • Anastasia Jill
04/17 • Joanne Lozar Glenn
04/19 • Robin Neidorf
04/21 • Martins Deep
04/22 • Autumn Bettinger
04/26 • TBD
04/28 • Martins Deep
05/03 • TBD
O5/05 • Martins Deep
05/10 • TBD
05/17 • TBD
05/24 • TBD
05/31 • TBD