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

Jill Murphy


Cockroaches would crawl

from the space

between her teeth

while no one was looking.

Their glistening shells

would slip through her full-bloom

lips, one after another,

till her sallow skin was on the verge

of disappearing beneath

their insectuous migration.

In the next room, my father

stood on a balance beam. He

was a temple there, a house of cards.

He was a window covered

in moths vying for the glow

of my mother porch light. We couldn’t

touch her, just follow

her through the house, sweeping

up those thorned legs and dried

wings as bees colonized her

lungs and cicadas groaned

in her stomach.


How do they communicate?

In circles.

How do they make love?

Separately. How does she touch

him? Sometimes she holds him

like the wheat scrapes

against the sky. Somewhere in Middle

America a field moves all at once,

though the blades are lonely. The sky asks

the grain to not make a big deal

out of it. The sky tells the grain it’s not just about

showing up.

He did his panic-research on her

body, listened for the crickets in her gut

but rolled his eyes every time she complained

of pain. Says he is familiar

with the cicadas in her skull

like he knows the sound of blood

being drawn. Can he remember how brave

she was that afternoon, lying

on the cutting board?

The sky feels right

to the grain, but does it matter?

The blight will come anyway.

The wheat holds up the sky.



Do we recycle

these feelings that stick

like oblong stains

on the countertop,

like little pieces

of butter smeared

on the cutting board, like

she clings to every kitchen

she’s ever lived in? The drain

collects bits of egg shell

3 days rotten, while she dreams

of sticking her hand down

the garbage disposal, while

the cat paces nervously, trailing

tufts of loose fur

along the windowsill wanting

for the cat in the alley, just as the girl

wants for the kitchen

of her childhood.


Our shoes peel off

the floorboards in dried

juice and beer.

We hear the fruit flies’ lovemaking

as they dive in and out

of the bottles on the counter

in the honey light.


The spaces I occupy get smaller

as I get older. I have

become less than bones.

He left in the night and took the olive

oil, the butter, left some ice packs in the freezer

and some blackened bok choy on the bottom

shelf. He left a silence

as insatiable as rust.

The negative space of hunger

filled the time we could have spent

loving each other.

For the next two weeks the only

thing that could be found in the ice

box was a fast-waning handle of honey

whiskey. I gained weight

and wisdom in the wrong


Jill Murphy is a writer living in Portland, Oregon.

Dotted Line