Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2018    fiction    all issues


Cover Elena Koycheva

Bryce Emley
Asking Father What’s at the End
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Faith Shearin
& other poems

Claire Van Winkle
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
Summer Cycles
& other poems

Nooshin Ghanbari
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton
The Afterlives of Leaves
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
& other poems

Paula Bonnell
In Winter, By Rail
& other poems

Addison Van Auken Waters
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
& other poems

Andrew Allport
All Nature Will Fable
& other poems

Marte Stuart
What an Insult Time Is
& other poems

Matthew Parsons
My Father as an Inuit Hunter
& other poems

Emily Bauer
Gently, Gently
& other poems

Bruce Marsland
A once lovelorn bard’s final journey
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Night Makers
& other poems

Isabella Skovira
Lawless Conservation
& other poems

Juan Pablo González
Colombia, 1928
& other poems

Molly Pines
The Pillbug
& other poems

Jamie Marie
On the Lake
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
If You Show Me Yours
& other poems

Bill Newby
Tuesdays at The Seagate's Atlantic Grille
& other poems

Elder Gideon
Male Initiation Rites
& other poems

Joel Holland
Dear Gi-Gi
& other poems

Martha R. Jones
How Lewis Carroll Met Edgar Allan Poe
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson

The Floor a Light-Year Away

This, as all the others, is a story of the mechanical flesh:

of dirt and ugliness and sunsets before a cool night

spent hiding cigarettes from the rain.

Eventually, we are all delivered home—

our boots mud-sucked and gray,

eyes looking past the glass to crushed leaves and soggy walls.

How do we feel so much with so little?

Hearts stop—not like a storm passes, but like a knot

pulled tight then cut. These are the things we make promises with,

these figures of flesh, these fragile houses

with the windows boarded and the doors ripped off the hinges.

In the closet is a suit on a hanger and it has been to three weddings, including your own.

From that place a new house grows,

the saga repeats, and our prayers

confront their own clumsiness.

The windows swing open.

      Looking to the sky we imagine the universe scrunched into a fist, a single, crushed point

and through every telescope we fall back into ourselves at increasing speeds

into confusion, just this thickness of a globe

strangled with life—our faces, our actions

staining some passing time and place.

And on a cool night the far is unfrozen;

it seeps right through your eyes with the rain.

Little Brother

Of bright monotony: I drink and watch the sun rise.

The news is red. I am

the little brother with his brain taped back together.

Dear sharpened light and deafening voiceless everywhere:

Do my cells complain too?

I know I am a man made of borrowed things

here, alive in the sun. I drop

like blood flowing to the lowest point

in a still life filled with too many too-crushed hearts.

Again in the hourless houses, outside the world that matters,

I pray for the sound of human blood in human veins—

for that inviolable voice choked and buried over by the dust it makes.

O bliss O world O music

                    in a city of monsters, where the light won’t end.


Shipped the world over

to accost others, every angel arrives spent, shaking

on elbows like a drunk against the floor.

I listen, but I’m tired with pity.

Tired of their broken wings and wheezing breath.

Tired of the vertigo they say is truth.

Outside, emerging from the ragged past, the pear trees bloom.

It is Sunday. I stay outside

to watch the shadows we call creation;

to live in these meanings we make up.

The What of the Machine

I dreamed of genesis again but it wasn’t like Genesis; saw our voices

                as foaming marrow

building bones that could hold us. The image

                sticks to the back of my eyes

where I smash the world flat

and call it seen. This room—books, clothes,

                cats, fleas—bulges in the throat like a song

and I know it’s not mine, but ours.

I know that regardless of the density of light, it looks like now—

like this song is a book, like this book is a mouth

where the dead are swallowed

and given houses to burn down

as bright as spinning wheels

through the teeth of a country. I drink

on the porch with the fleas, and listen

                to the shriek and gospel of the world

                                from across the street.

I shouldn’t stay awake like this,

smiling and embalmed below the buzzing light and the incinerating moths,

on this chair like a bed like a boat into dreamland where I drift with the sewage to the sea

and good morning good morning good morning good morning!

To live is to sign our names across the everything

until nothing but mess is left—

a house of ill-made images, where the sun beats.


I watch the garbagemen outside

and sit on the edge of our bed.

Another day and it feels like church,

                and like in church I’m clueless;

I don’t know the words, but I sing.

Daniel Sinderson writes a lot and is occasionally published. He is married and has two cats.

Dotted Line