New Voices: “A New River” by Dominic Desmond

January 4, 2019

In today’s addition to our New Voices catalog, Jake, an ironworker, copes with the death of his coworker, Moe, who fell from the bridge they were working on. In a voice reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, Desmond guides the reader through the forest and fog of West Virginia. Join the currents of “A New River” as it explores the natural beauty and fragility of life.

Jake reached for a newspaper there on the counter and looked at the front page. Big letters. No words. But, in the lower left-hand corner of the page, he saw the semi-bold letters: IRONWORKER DIES IN FALL. He pushed the newspaper away.

It had been Jake and his supervisor, Andy, in the manager’s trailer. The top three buttons of the manager’s flannel were undone. Jake could see his brow shiny in the light.

Jake heard murmurs among the men outside the thin-walled trailer.

“Like a watermelon.”


Andy looked at the manager.

“You should make that call, Al,” Andy said, putting his stickered helmet under his arm.

“I’m trying to think of what to say,” Al said, putting his palms to his ears and then going up with them into the air.

“You tell her there was an accident,” Andy said.

Jake looked at the typewriter on Al’s desk.

Andy moved towards Al’s desk.

Jake heard laughter outside.




Visor down.

Moe’s there.

Torch out.

Visor up.

Turn around.

Where’s Moe?

No more Moe.

“Moe fell, Al,” Andy said. “Now make the call.” Andy looked down at the rotor phone.

To read the rest of “A New River,” click here.


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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