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

George Longenecker


Wrap me in your wings,

hide me high in a white pine,

weave me a nest with your beak,

line it with downy feathers,

sew it with fine thread of nettle,

twine it with silk of milkweed,

cushion it with pussy willows,

braid it with milk of moonlight,

let me feel warm breath from your beak,

let me feel your heart beat against my breast.

Rock Point, Ontario

Lake Erie’s waves polish limestone fossils,

Devonian sea tides once lapped this shore,

where children ponder trilobites and wander

the bed of the salt sea from which they came.

Gulls sweep low over Rock Point Beach.

Lighted freighters float across the moon while

night beacons flicker on a distant shore—

the lake howls with gulls and freighters’ horns.

At bedtime children in sleeping bags

curl up on the warm limestone bed,

cuddle up to the lullaby of lapping waves,

sleep all night in fossil seashells,

coiled in a bed of time.

Arctic Refuge

All day the sun circles the horizon never

setting, orange at midnight, white at noon

as we float downriver to the Beaufort Sea—

at first rapid current slams our rafts

against stones, but soon we float calmly—

the distant Shublik peaks cast shadows

far across the tundra, a snowy owl circles

white as we drift north in twilight.

In the hills fireweed and paintbrush bloom,

the owl swoops and lands on the high tundra,

fossil coral and seashells lie everywhere,

the remnants of tropical oceans—

beneath arctic stone dinosaurs sleep

in crude petroleum—maybe enough to fuel

the world for another six months;

refined into jet fuel, pterosaurs would fly again,

leaving tails in the sky above the Arctic Refuge.

Next day we float north past a bluff where two

stone heads—Inuksuk cairns—keep watch

as they have for a thousand years over

the Inupiat and their river.

In the distance Arctic sea ice cracks like

thunder, on the horizon ice and sky

meet in a mirage; tundra swans trumpet

as we float north past dunes to

the sea. All night the orange sun sits low

while a snowy owl waits in silence.

Let the pterosaurs and allosaurs sleep

another fifty million years.

Hurricane Irene

All day water pounded on the roof,

poured down in sheets while white pines

whipped in the hurricane. Houses shook

and windows rattled, air pressure dropped

as low as it had in fifty years, but barometers

could never measure this storm.

Tiny streams gorged themselves on the deluge,

became monsters who lifted huge boulders from beds

where they’d lain since the last glacier, the flood

heaved stones, uprooted trees and hurled the mass

downstream into houses, water gushed through

windows, shingles, boards and beams buckled,

cracked and splintered then rolled down into rivers

risen far over their banks—no longer minor tributaries.

All over Vermont from Waterbury to Bethel

from Rochester to Marlboro the water rolled,

streetlights flickered then went out. A crushed

car floated by, its interior lights still on, coffins fled

an eroded cemetery followed by a swimming corpse,

its stiff arms flailing. Two huskies howled and howled

as their dog pen filled but nobody could hear them

over roaring water and pounding stones.

For twelve hours it rained and rivers rose

even more quickly; people ran for high ground

before they could be washed away—no escape,

only pounding rain as railroads twisted like licorice

and roads turned to gorges. A covered bridge

splintered against boulders and the very water

which quenches and cleanses rolled its timbers

downstream with even more stones and trees.

The next day it was warm and clear—

at first light strangely silent, already at dawn

an odor of decay as water settled,

brown and still, blue jays called.

Finally, as clouds lifted, the mountains

could be seen, slopes still green, sirens wailed

while crows hovered, waiting, diesel engines roared,

but it would take months to fill and fix what Irene had done.

Slowly the flood receded and stones settled,

floodwater seeped out of houses and left oily muck

on every plate and chair; those who could returned

home, saw what the water had done and wept.

Cardinal on a Cable

A cardinal sings from his perch on the cable,

happy for another Florida dawn;

his call is the same as cardinals everywhere—

but what if he were plucked from his wire

and instantly landed in New Hampshire

where it’s zero minus fifteen today?

What the fuck, he’d say, now what?

His cable perch carries news

of war in Syria and northern cold,

but he calls cardinals with his own news.

Why are some spared war and cold, others not?

Robert Frost knew . . . that for destruction ice

Is also great. I too would perish tossed

nude into New Hampshire this morning—

at least the cardinal has feathers.

But we’re here in Florida,

on our screened porch having coffee,

grapefruit and cereal, while you, red cardinal,

sing to us from the television cable.

George Longenecker teaches writing and history at Vermont Technical College. Some of his recent poems and book reviews can be found in Atlanta Review, Penumbra Memoir and Rain Taxi. He lives on the edge of the forest in Middlesex, VT.

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