Fives logo – a stylised number five

with Airea D. Matthews

Something that makes you smile

When a baby clutches the back of your neck when they are held. When a child explains a vexingly complex issue in super simple terms. Clever hip-hop lyrics (Logic is really good at making me smile). Uninterrupted reading under the sun. That feeling after finishing anything. Candles.

A confession

Here’s a few of varying importance: Because I fear being fully known, I push people away who are close to me. I love restoring old houses and would love to have a show on HGTV. I often have detailed and predictive dreams.

The last thing you wrote

A piece of flash nonfiction about the death of a friend and some monologues from debtors’ prison.

Your favourite city

Edinburgh because one of my favorite people in the world lives there.

What you’d place in a time capsule

A puzzle of photos and text, including: a calendar collaged with the line “One must imagine Sisyphus happy” from Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus and the dialogue between Vladmir and Estragon from Waiting for Godot where Vladmir asks, “Well? Shall we go?” and Estragon answers, “Yes, let’s go” followed by the stage direction [they do not move]. I’d also add a folded index card stapled to photos of rivers, oceans, extinct animals and random humans that reads “we didn’t love well enough…try harder” and, finally, I would leave a handwritten apology titled “what I knew to do but didn’t.”

Airea D. Matthews’s first collection of poems, Simulacra, received the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award (Yale University Press, 2017). She is a recipient of a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Her work has appeared in Best American Poets 2015, American Poets, Four Way Review, The Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Detroit, Michigan, with her husband and four children.