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

A. Sgroi

Sore Soles

Dark are the clouds above the dancer’s head—

              Wilting are the tulips in their backyard beds.

Biting is the breeze that whispers at her back—

              Forgotten are the books that she pushed into a stack.

Ruined are her stockings, with a run at both the knees—

              Aching is her back and the bottoms of her feet.

Narrow, long, and winding is the road she walks—

              Alone is the girl inside the music box.


By the time I broke his heart

Mine had already begun to crumble.

Doubt came knocking,

Erosion spread.

There was now geological proof,

A history in the dust.

His heart suffered a swift, sharp slice

That bled quickly, and with fury.

Exsanguination of the soul.

Mine had fallen prey to a quiet disease.

A sickness, slow to show the symptoms.

It crept in, infecting every kiss and conversation.

Debilitation from deep within.

I lied to myself and to him.

I lied to my skin and to my hands.

I killed the animal that we were

And its blood dripped from my fingers.

Roadkill that we politely halved

And strapped to each other’s backs,

Agreeing to share the stench.

We stretched and dried the skin,

Dumped the innards in the river to wash away.

The last task we did together.

Our heartbreak, in its collective sense

Will wash up on some other beach,

But the blood still stains my hands.

Three summers have come and gone,

And no amount of scrubbing

Can rinse my skin of the damage I’ve done.

I still smell it when I close my eyes.

By the time I broke his heart,

Mine was deeply flawed at its core.

Cracks ran through it from end to end.

There is no fixing a flaw like that.


my sister took her name back

from inside his mouth where he was keeping it.

it perched on his tongue far too long.

a foolish place to keep a name,

a room whose door will not remain closed.

my sister took her name back

from under his bed where he kicked it,

left to collect dust until he wanted it again.

a foolish place to keep a name,

a space without walls to speak of.

my sister took her name back

when he left it on the train

and only realized the error

when turning out his pockets for the wash.

anonymity is a sweet, fresh breath.

he will know her not a moment longer.

Autumn, buried

Brooklyn is still sleeping

Early morning in October.

Wide awake and weeping

We are solemn, shattered, sober.

What happened so few hours ago

Is etched into our skin.

Too late to tell the artist ‘no’,

Tattoo ink sinking in.

Brooklyn’s still asleep

As we avoid each other’s eyes.

Sunlight starts to creep

As we prepare to say goodbye.

                Goodbye to the love and goodbye to the friend.

                Goodbye to the fall and the never-again.


You lead me to a place where the mud is deep

And no one can see us.

Leaves become sieves to the sun and its waning warmth.

For miles, we creep along

And pick up rocks, and feathers.

Remnants of the land we walk.

We traipse like this as the light winds away.

The fog within the forest depths is just that: deep.

The air drips with sound atop a bed of silence.

We say things we otherwise wouldn’t,

We see things we otherwise couldn’t.

There is nothing to be done,

No one calling our names.

The scent of pine saturates our noses

And rests behind our eyes.

Mine share their color with the bottomless dirt

And the grass that flecks the surface.

Yours are like the storm clouds we don’t think will reach us—

—They do, and we are soaked.

Cotton clings, hanging on for dear life.

We reject its advances and peel off our layers,

Thinning suddenly under patches of moonlight.

I am cold and you are chilly. I am drained and you are weary.

We walk until we reach the lean-to,

A relic of our childhoods surviving well beyond its years.

A patch of dry wood awaits—

—We think it somewhat miraculous.

Just enough room for both of our bodies and both of our souls.

By morning, the damp is lifting.

It threatens to return and we do not doubt it.

I want to grab hold of these hours

And put them in a pocket.

The one within my chest,

Where everything I stow inside is doomed to rot forever.

The decay will take as long as my life.

Our clothes have almost dried,

Just as before, only now

They hold the scent of rain.

Everything is different, yet we are both the same.

A. Sgroi is a native New Yorker, a twin sister, a trapeze artist, an avid fan of Edna St. Vincent Millay, an occasional poet, and a Sixfold newcomer.

Dotted Line