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

Bryce Emley

College Beer

the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
—Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck”

It’s my first time in a real dive: dimly lit, Willie lilt, cue-ball-scuffed floor, basket of condoms by the door. I ask what they’ve got and stop her when she gets to Schlitz.

Before I clack the can open I conjure my father sneaking The Beer that made Milwaukee Famous into an Oral Roberts dorm,

              swigging it mid-June Oklahoma storm from the driver seat

              of his first Austin-Healey,

              dwelling in that space of time he lived the stories he tells.

              Bitter, tinny, it tastes like college beer.

Hemorrhage paralyzed him at 43. He’s 64 now. He doesn’t drink.

Every year is a stroke toward a closing surface,

              a swimming out of the wreck,

              the thing itself bluing into myth beneath.

The next round I take an AmberBock, and it tastes like it did in the Applebee’s on University all those times.

Two Pompeiis

In every living city the haunted ruin

—Robert Pinsky


I’d like to think they didn’t see it coming—

denarii left on counters like quarters on a dresser,

bodies bound in awful contortion,

arms clung around Fortuna medallions—

but the tremors in the earth a week before

that shook their bones in god-like warning

while they pressed and jarred wine

grown and named on what would bury them,

their doors inscribed with Salve, lucru

ruin that tragedy, build us a new city still

haunted by a decadence for us to marvel at

as tourists and let ash and time conceal.


I’d like to think we didn’t see it coming—

our two bodies like bills wadded on a dresser,

too bound in painless contortion for us to grasp

that we had clung to what wouldn’t save us—

but how could we not have felt the tremors

in our bones branching through marrow

as we pressed tongues and fingers,

buried ourselves beneath ourselves,

our end always inscribing itself

in our skin, ruined from our start

by the decadence of flesh, the baggage

we carried as tourists in each other’s countries.

Non-Small Cell

What should we gain by a definition . . .?

—Ludwig Wittgenstein

It could be large,

maybe medium, basically

whatever just isn’t small.

One-fifth who have it last

another five years—

after that, some other statistic.

Nine times more common than small,

more women than men,

smokers and nonsmokers,

occasion for the one cigarette

lying dormant

in a drawer.

Clinical pamphlet,

Harvard doctor,

quick Google search—

some terms we can only define

by fissures branching our chests,

creating the loss by our knowing them.

Bryce Emley is a freelance writer and MFA student at NC State. His poetry can be found in Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, The Cortland Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. He’s on staff for Raleigh Review and BULL: Men’s Fiction and blogs about advertising at

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