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Jennifer Matthewson
Wear A Mask — (Photo: Jennifer Matthewson)

The mask on your chin

Warms the beard but not the nose.

Already a year.

What Say You, Bumblebee? — (Photo: Jennifer Matthewson)

Buzz, buzz, to and fro,

tell me, bumblebee, where do you go?

In the night, in the darkness, amongst the clouds and rain.

Is there a shelter in the distance

where you watch through a windowpane?

Are there queen bees and stingers and babies yet to learn,

crowded all around you as you watch the human world burn?

Do you talk over honey about the faults of man?

Do you ponder over petals wondering how long you can

survive without us, the destroyers abound,

the polluters, the deniers, trashing air and ground?

Will there be redemption

amongst the ones who hear your plea?

Without us, you will perish,

reminds the little bumblebee.

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend — (Photo: Jennifer Matthewson)

The bills aren’t getting paid, my mind repeats at 4 am, begging the sun not to rise just yet, my body rolling back and forth below the covers. There is money coming in, small chunks, enough to pay things here and there, but never enough for all the bills. When he comes to pick the baby up for his regular co-parenting time, he reminds me that money, electronics, a new car could be mine if I choose to stay in the marriage. But instead, I toss and turn in the early morning hours wondering when I’ll feel better again.


Fiddleheads, Lost In The Chaos

Fiddlehead ferns, curled up in little circles, tightly protected from the sun, rain, weather around them. Fiddlehead ferns, a delicacy that arrives on nearly everyone’s menu every spring, with chefs chiming in from all over the country — what they’re doing with their fiddlehead ferns, what they’re pairing on their plates.

Fiddlehead ferns, twirling, swirling, green bits of gold when it reaches the season, sought after by cooks from New York to LA. But not this year, not this season. The discussion of fiddlehead ferns has been silenced, a thousand levels below other important topics like viruses and travel and…

Watch Out for Puddles — (Photo: Jennifer Matthewson)

My father stops to tie the bag of garbage to a nearby tree before we traipse off for our evening showers at the campground.

“It keeps the bears out,” he explains to my sister and I as we huddle beneath our raincoats in the dark, the beams from our flashlights shining on the wet ground below us.

He explained to us, too, why we take our showers at night.

“They’re emptier then,” he said, and sure enough, each night when we walk as a family to the distant wood building, and he leaves us for the Boys side of the…

DTW to SMF, brb. — (Photo: Jennifer Matthewson)

Long ago, they would give you wings when you flew, the metal of the runway gate creaking below my feet as I crossed into the plane. I would hold my breath as I stepped over the threshold, a chasm of air and ground below between my small self and the great composite bird. It felt like a red carpet premiere, a team of well-dressed men and women excitedly waiting to welcome you. I would be ushered immediately to the left, away from the rest of the plane, to take in the mechanics of the cockpit, pilots preparing for take-off, attendants…

All The Stars are Closer — (Photo: Jennifer Matthewson)

“You have a Dipper,” he says to no one in particular as we make our way out into the darkness.

There is too much wine in my system to follow him directly, and I’m grateful he can’t see me stumbling along in the grass, tripping over chips of the wood path as I crane my neck up at the sky. We’re far enough away from the city that the stars have exposed themselves from one end to the other, and after sitting for the last few hours, it feels good to stand. …

Yep, It’s Still There [The Art of the Brick, Portland, 2017] — (Photo: Jennifer Matthewson)

Recenter yourself, remember where you are, where you were ten minutes ago before your mind started to fall and fail you, before it started to spiral downward into the abyss of this year. Breathe into yourself, your center. Remember the light and life that you are, even amid all of this darkness.

Remember the depths at which you’ve waded before, crevasses encompassing you, moments of loss, abandonment, disappointment. Broken hearts. Those were the moments you thought you’d never survive, and yet here you are.

Feel your feet on the ground, the wind through your hair, the fabric of the warm…

A Green Apple Martini Without Judgment — (Photo: Rocky Yeh)

He is both pineapple and James Bond character when I try to picture him, his three-piece suits a standard attire; black, red, and purple. When he texts to invite me to dinner or drinks or brunch with Soderbergh, I do whatever I can to make it happen.

He walks with purpose as he’s navigating through the streets to the next restaurant or bar, a determination and leadership that I have sought in others at one time or another. When he enters the room, he is recognizable to most of the staff, and greetings ring out against the walls. …

Bubbles, Bubbles, Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink — (Photo: Jennifer Matthewson)

The old lady sat at the end of the table, a clear piece of tape holding her tired glasses together, her thin wrinkled hand clinging to the cigarette between her fingers. I wondered if she even knew what was going on, if she had an inkling what her money had done to her family. Three children all counting the days ‘til her death. Two grandchildren holding their breath with anticipation. She sat at the table as long as she could, lighting cigarettes off each other, ashes piling up on the wood in front of her. Once the meal was over, they waited anxiously for the checks to be written and distributed. Everyone wanted something.

Jennifer Matthewson

Shamelessly flashing my bits of flash nonfiction. Clips and bio at

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