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

Franklin Zawacki

Experience Before Memory

Step slowly, carefully,

until you feel the fog between the trees.

Hear the heartbeat of air.

Let the ground open beneath you

and grant you forever to walk the first step.

Freedom is brief: watch smoke disappear.

Even with the best of wines

the second sip drowns the first.

Lacking An Easel

The compulsion to capture two children

geysering up and down on a seesaw—

balancing precariously on the air—overwhelms me.

If only I were an artist able to quick-sketch the silos

wobbling behind them

or draw the wheat field shrinking to stubble

beneath their feet.

Or paint the color of their squeals.

The boy reaches for a rooftop,

straddling the wood shed

with red and blue shouts.

The girl lifts bare legs—

shrieking purple cries

at the puddle drawing closer.

Two children divide the light—

each rising and falling with exultant yelps

that swoop like swallows into the hay loft.

But the exuberance of such a vision

can never be painted but only kissed.

And I’d rather savor it,

keeping my hands free to catch them

should one of them fall.

Leaves Beyond Glass

For Peter Kaplan (1957-1977)

Father: open the windows before the trees go bare,

before the lawn is raked clean,

and one misstep buries me in mud.

Bring back the green leaves surrounding my boyhood.

Let me trot beside you,

two steps to your one.

My hand grips your finger,

as we trundle down streets,

pulling a wagon full of brothers.

I feel your chin when you bend down

to sort the bottle caps from the coins

I pull from my pockets.

Shining back from counter glass,

your eyes meet mine

above the pyramid of ice cream numbing my tongue.

Unable to look away, I’m lost in your reflection.

Confined by illness, I lay quarantined in your tattered robe,

gazing out while you frosted cartoons

to the outer side of my bedroom window.

You stood in the cold, arching your eye brows—miming laughter—

meant to carry me past all confinements.

Hearing you whistle around corners,

I came running.

I know you can’t remove this sickness.

But lift me once more toward the ceiling

that appeared only an arm’s length away

before I fall back—

entombed in the silence of this stale room.


That well-spent hag was hardly awake

before—with a toss of her hair—

she changed beds.

Stealing the moon’s protrusion,

she padded out her hips.

She filled out her flat bosom with green buds.

Crossing over the swollen creek, she trampled the lilies.

She squeezed blossoms over her body,

feigning a bath with perfume.

A breeze dried her clean.

Strapping on spiked heels,

she gave the turf its course.

Seed spilled everywhere.

But you’ve gotta hand it to her—

the old bitch.

Look at those meadows rise!

Short Orders

It’s 2 a.m.

I stumble into a diner.

Bubbly-mouthed coffee pots attempt

to steam open the tight-lipped night.

I find an empty booth.

I’m not talking.

A waitress appears, hovering like an angel.

She turns her face away,

allowing me to stare at the back of her legs.

I want to thank her.

I signal for her pencil. She hands it to me.

I trace our lives on a napkin.

“Look, buddy. You’ll need more than astrological signs

to get me into bed.”

I open my jacket.

“Who do ya think you are? Pull down your shirt.

I’ve seen better tattoos on a dog’s ass.”

The food counter bell clangs.

“I’ll be back when you’re ready ta order.”

I lick salt from the back of my hand.

“Hey! You givin’ da girl trouble?”

I look up. The cook stands over me.

“Yeah. You. Don’t act dumb. You can talk.

Now give her back her pencil. She’s got work to do.”

I hand it over, surrendering my tongue.

A drunken man and woman in rumpled wedding clothes

flop down in the next booth.

“Would you believe,” the bride slurs, “I was going to be a nun?”

She looks around to see if anyone else is listening.

“Here’s your eggs and Johnny cakes.”

The cook bangs down my plate.

“Ya got syrup and whatever else ya need on da rack.

So no more lip outta youse.”

The bride winks at me.

“Hey, sweetie,” she whispers. “You’d better be careful.

Cupid might be lurkin’ closer than you think.

Look: I’ve still got my garter on.”

She bares her thigh and giggles.

“Whata ya say? Wanna try for it?”

The groom weaves as he wags a finger at me.

I shrug my shoulders and turn away.

It almost seems the coffee darkens

the more I add cream to it.

Franklin Zawacki writes in San Francisco, CA.

Dotted Line