Pacific Highway South: Best American Strip City

Pacific Highway South: Best American Strip City by Matt Briggs Walking the Dog I live across the street from a swampy vacant lot. Cottonwoods grow on the lot’s margins, and around the lot there are houses, apartment buildings, highways. There are a lot of people who never see one another. A bird’s nest, empty most of the time except during the spring migration, clings to the cottonwood closest to my subdivision.
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Fred Is Dead

Fred Is Dead by Matt Briggs My uncle was obsessed with being alive to the point where he didn’t live at all. He filled a cardboard box with free verse, a landfill with green bottles and a tin urn with his ashes. When I was first aware of him, he was growing things out, weird like Howard Hughes. Uncle Fred decided to grow a whisker under his chin as long as it would grow.
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Flag Ceremony

Flag Ceremony by Matt Briggs Sometime after I had been in my Army basic training unit long enough, I knew how to polish my boots until the surface held a thin, buffed glaze richer than the spay-on polish applied by the Drill Sergeants. The aerosol shine left a mucous sheen still shiny even after trail dirt and field dust coated their heels. I knew how to take my time stripping down the excess, black Kiwi wax and then applying a light touch and buffing the leather with my brush.
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