Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2014    fiction    all issues


Debbra Palmer
Bake Sale
& other poems

Ann V. DeVilbiss
Far Away, Like a Mirror
& other poems

Michael Fleming
On the Bus
& other poems

Harold Schumacher
Dying To Say It
& other poems

Heather Erin Herbert
Georgia’s Advent
& other poems

Sharron Singleton
Sonnet for Small Rip-Rap
& other poems

Bryce Emley
College Beer
& other poems

Harry Bauld
On a Napkin
& other poems

George Mathon
Do You See Me Waving?
& other poems

Mariana Weisler
Soft Soap and Wishful Thinking
& other poems

Michael Kramer
Nighthawks, Kaua’i
& other poems

Jill Murphy
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn
& other poems

Kendall Grant
Winter Love Note
& other poems

Donna French McArdle
White Blossoms at Night
& other poems

Tom Freeman
On Foot, Joliet, Illinois
& other poems

George Longenecker
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
The Bitter Daughter
& other poems

Rebecca Irene
& other poems

Savannah Grant
And Not As Shame
& other poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Titian Left No Paper Trail
& other poems

Martin Conte
We’re Not There
& other poems

A. Sgroi
Sore Soles
& other poems

Miguel Coronado
& other poems

Franklin Zawacki
Experience Before Memory
& other poems

Tracy Pitts
& other poems

Rachel A. Girty
& other poems

Ryan Flores
Language Without Lies
& other poems

Margie Curcio
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
Painted Chickens
& other poems

Nicholas Petrone
Running Out of Space
& other poems

Danielle C. Robinson
A Taste of Family Business
& other poems

Meghan Kemp-Gee
A Rhyme Scheme
& other poems

Tania Brown
On Weeknights
& other poems

James Ph. Kotsybar
& other poems

Matthew Scampoli
Paddle Ball
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Not Exactly
& other poems

Winner of $100 for 2nd-place-voted Poems

Ann V. DeVilbiss

Far Away, Like a Mirror

I’ve gone out walking

to see if I can meet myself

on sleeping streets

muffled with snow.

A rabbit is standing stock-still

in the center of the road,

as if refusing to move

will keep him safe.

I wonder if the rabbit is me

and how I can prove it.

At night the snow

holds the sky captive.

The rabbit sleeps curled up,

deep under the ground,

under the layers of trapped sky,

under the real sky,

which is orange like an echo,

which seems far away, like a mirror.

I go back home and try

to stay up all night.

I want to watch the snow let loose

the dawn, freeing the sky. I want to

see the light cast over the rabbit,

see it change him,

but I fall asleep again,

wake fur matted, confused.

I keep seeking new things

on all the same cold roads.

I need to know

which way to run.

I don’t know

where to run to.


We go west in the mornings, east

in the evenings. We know the sun

only by its heat and shadows;

we are home only when it’s dark.

The world seems full

of monsters. The grass is

uneven, sharpened by frost.

A man spits on my porch,

tells me I can’t park

in front of my house because

that’s his spot, always has been.

The stains on his teeth are older than I am.

A few weeks later he is arrested for fraud,

having let his mother’s body rot

in his house for months while he

collected her social security checks.

Once he is gone,

the house stays vacant

because of the smell, and I

park wherever I want.

Crows line the eaves

like undertakers, bray

like donkeys, begin

to outnumber us.

The world is too big

for safety, but here

in our house,

there is reason for joy.

Still, sorrow comes back,

pulled to me like

water to the moon.

Down for the Count

When the thunder rumbles

I know he is looking for me

and I count

           one, two, three, four

between the flash and roar.

The row of American flags

across the street looks

downtrodden and a little afraid.

I stick close to the eaves.

Before the storm the yard

was full of strange birds,

pelicans and hummingbirds

arriving in the wrong season.

He rolls his thunder tongue

through the clouds like

a snake in amber grasses.

One, two, three, and I am

bathing in electric light.

A count of one is too quick

to hide from, but somehow

the driving rain feels

clean, like a refuge.

His sky voice is big enough

to reach me anywhere.

The Reckoning

His life is like a tango

between before and after.

Sometimes it fills his head

with oatmeal. Sometimes

his story is full of holes.

When he speaks of the loss,

he refuses to whisper, and

his loud voice pitches high,

like the keening of a sawmill:

flashing metal on dark wood.

His loss is like a small child

who has always been hiding

under the dinner table, and he

could hear her muffled giggles,

her earnest whispers, for years

before she came out in the open.

His loss is like a scar that has

to be told about because he

wears it under his sweater,

where no one can see.

His loss comes out to meet him,

to tell him she’s always been waiting for him.

He takes her hand and they walk together.


I will make a harp of you,

your hair curled around

its strings, the wood

of its flank flushed with

the color of your cheek

as you try to decide how

to say what comes next.

The harp will sing with

the sound of glass broken,

accidentally, woven into

a strain of careful laughter.

It will hum with uncertainty.

When you are away

I will know it is silent,

though I am deaf.

Ann V. DeVilbiss holds a BA from Indiana University, where she studied English and completed the honors program in poetry. She does editing and production work for a small press in Louisville, Kentucky, where she lives with her husband and their cat.

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