Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Fall 2013    fiction    all issues


Chris Joyner
Wrestlemania III
& other poems

Carey Russell
Visiting Hours
& other poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Cabinet of Wonders
& other poems

Jonathan Travelstead
Prayer of the K-12
& other poems

Jennifer Lowers Warren
Our Daughter's Skin
& other poems

Jeff Burt
The Mapmaker's Legend
& other poems

Patricia Percival
Giving in to What If
& other poems

Toni Hanner
& other poems

Christopher Dulaney
& other poems

Suzanne Burns
Window Shopping
& other poems

Katherine Smith
Mountain Lion
& other poems

Peter Kent
Surliness in the Green Mountains
& other poems

William Doreski
Gathering Sea Lavender
& other poems

Huso Liszt
Fresco, The Forlorn Virgin...
& other poems

Clifford Hill
How natural you are
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

David Kann
Dead Reckoning
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Music of As Is
& other poems

Tori Jane Quante
Creatio ex Materia
& other poems

G. L. Morrison
Baba Yaga
& other poems

Joe Freeman
In a Wood
& other poems

George Longenecker
Bear Lake
& other poems

Benjamin Dombroski
South of Paris
& other poems

Ryan Kerr
& other poems

Josh Flaccavento
Glen Canyon Dam
& other poems
& other poems

Christine Stroud
& other poems

Abraham Moore
Inadvertent Landscape
& other poems

Chris Haug
Cow with Parasol
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Fiberglass Madonna
& other poems

Emily Hyland
The Hit
& other poems

Sam Pittman
Growth Memory
& other poems

Alex Linden
The Blues of In-Between
& other poems

Bobby Lynn Taylor
& other poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Alia Neaton
Cosmogony I
& other poems

Elisa Albo
Each Day More
& other poems

Noah B. Salamon
& other poems

Winner of $100 for 3rd-place-voted Poems

Writer's Site

Marc Pietrzykowski

Cabinet of Wonders

Hefting Mrs. O out of bed required

a winch and a cradle of straps

and a hard ear: she cried, at least

more often than wailing, wordless,

the occasional bark. No wonder,

both hips were shattered, her spine

nearly a question mark.

So, her soft sobs were welcome

Tuesday morning, before bath,

and her sudden shrieks ignored,

at first, until we saw her fist

jabbing toward the floor: a small,

pink, heart-shaped box had fallen

and lay beside the bedpan.

Jamilla opened it, and up sprung

a tiny ballerina, en pointe,

pirouetting to Für Elise,

gears plinking slowly, slowly,

the song Mrs. O’s sister practiced

forever, in the front parlor,

the sun colored vase of lilies

atop the piano, hair in a shaggy bun.

We all listened as it slowed

to a crawl, one note, one more,

then hung, unresolved, on the C.

Mrs. O didn’t have to cry, Jamilla

turned the key before breathing,

let it play, let it wind down again,

then turned the key once more

to watch the ballerina twirl.

I Am Glad I Have Seen
Racehorses, Women, Mountains

I am glad I have seen racehorses, women, mountains,

glad I have sung, stretched my back, peeled skin from my sun-burnt arms;

I am grateful to have had a good enemy,

and to have fought, knowing there is no end to fighting.

There are few things to believe, and many things to know,

and they are all mixed up in a rusty can,

but when you are thirsty, even the rust

tastes of life. I am glad I have seen pumpkins, contortionists,

a mound of snow the size of a house; glad to have stunk a while

in the hole left by love, to have smiled

when an enemy was injured without reason,

to have realized there was a day the battle would end, for me.

There are tunnels and crevices beneath our feet, and weeds

springing up from between them, and beneath that, yes,

it is hot, but it is not a heat that concerns us, nothing human there,

though we may, given time, be ground down again into that molten sea.

When This Plane Goes Down,
I Want To Be Sitting Beside You

When this plane goes down, I want to be sitting beside you,

your hand atop mine, my hand resting on your thigh

when the air cracks in two and the oxygen masks drop

and the attendants float around the cabin like lost balloons,

the ones without enough helium to lose themselves in the sky,

when all the screams become one scream and we push it

behind us and start to fall, your hand atop mine, my hand

resting on your thigh, toward the trifling patchwork of farm

and park and baseball diamond, or toward the circuit board

of a city shivering. We can fall toward the men and women

who live as though the world is already burning, the ones

whom god has called to rise from this scabrous plain, or the ones

who sell their brothers and sisters daily to the mulch pile

for another chance at glory, no, not even glory, for another

chance to rule and power is the only rule, power grinds

mountains into dust and dust into fuel and fuel is the beast

that carries them into the fortress, locks the gates and pays

the mercenaries to walk the walls, it tints their sunglasses

and wraps the wires they stick in their ears. Or we could fall

toward the center of the ideogram, the heart of the advertisement,

the mainspring, the all-seeing eye, and pray for absorption

so, rather than die, we might multiply and occupy the other world,

the one we make with our bodies in space, the one that floats

up from our bodies like scent rising from a rose, the map

that we carry and share and inscribe together—but that is not

a life, yearning to be another stain on the wine-press, one more

palimpsest lurking on channel 132, 257, 308; instead,

let’s just fall, your hand atop mine, my hand on your thigh,

and look at me so we might live each in the others’ eye,

an infinite recursion of selves and eyes, each smiling the same,

each ringed with hair alive in the wind that strokes the earth.

The Mower Obeys The Covenant

—after Marvell

The grass keeps on growing,

and I keep on mowing,

and then there’s the room where I cry.

The carnivals come

and the cancer creeps up pantlegs

and lovers draw their curtains

and go about their days.

The grass keeps on growing,

and I keep on mowing,

and then there’s the room where I cry.

I work, I follow the covenant;

I am a homeowner and a responsible

digit. If only they knew

how I longed for a sea of blood.

The grass keeps on growing,

and I keep on mowing,

and then there’s the room where I cry.

Instead, the food court.

Instead, I watch the carousel

turning, a galaxy of fiberglass horses

collapsing too slow for the eye.

The grass keeps on growing,

and I keep on mowing,

and goddamn I wish I knew why.

Marc Pietrzykowski lives in Lockport, NY, with his wife Ashley, and enjoys being alive more than should be legal. He has published five books of poetry and one novel, as well as numerous individual poems, stories, and essays in a variety of places. He also writes music, sings, and plays a few instruments. More details on all these pursuits can be found on his web page,

Dotted Line