Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2023    fiction    all issues


Susan Wilkinson

Selena Spier
Red From The West
& other poems

Pamela Wax
Talk Therapy
& other poems

Ana Reisens
Honey Water
& other poems

Mark Yakich
Necessary Hope
& other poems

Bridget Kriner
A Few Lies & a Truth
& other poems

Keegan Shepherd
Silver Queen
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich
Sacred Conflagration
& other poems

George Longenecker
Those Who Hunger
& other poems

Hailey Young
Ball Room
& other poems

Sébastien Luc Butler
& other poems

Savannah Grant
Ever Since (v.2)
& other poems

grace (logan)
& other poems

Samantha Imperi
A Poem for the Ghosted
& other poems

Corinne Walsh
& other poems

Kayla Heinze
Stop checking the score
& other poems

Richard Baldo
Chasing Through to Dawn
& other poems

Alex Eve
A moment
& other poems

Robert Michael Oliver
Prison Hounds
& other poems

Samantha Imperi

A Poem for the Ghosted

This is a requiem for

the first fly I dismembered,

pulling limb from thorax and how easy it was to

separate round-body from spindle-leg. It is

difficult to catch a fly, it requires

patience, a steady hand.

Watch as I hold the gossamer

wing, disconnected at the joint

refractive shimmer glittering in the

florescent light, I wonder how many

pieces I can remove before it expires.

I imagine that I can hear it

screaming. Without legs and wings, it is not

a fly. It is a shining, metallic green-gold

shell that decorates my shelf. Without

legs or wings, the fly is both alive and dead.

If I loved anything, I would have

slid my thumbnail between the thorax

and head, severing the connection.

Certainty is a luxury. If you

want to know if the fly is dead

you have to kill it yourself.


I find you in my empty spaces.

I find you among the fallen leaves.

            I draw you in the back garden.

I find you with a knife in hand.

            I taste you in the salt and sugar.

I find you in bodies of water.

I find you in my empty spaces.

            I see you with the blackbirds.

            I empty you into a shoebox.

            I dissolve you in a glass of gin.

I find you running in the darkness.

            I hear you in the creaking and the groaning.

I find you in my empty spaces.

I find you in the dark corners of my closet.

I find you on a dusty bookshelf.

            I wash you out of my hair.

I find you in the sand.

            I toss you into the ocean.

            I lean against your shadow.

I find you in piles of dirty laundry

I find you in all of my empty spaces.

            I eliminate every trace of you, but still,

I find you.


Kilgore Trout turns off the television after twenty solid hours of CNN

            He opens Twitter to a stream of feminist liberals complaining about the legislation being written about women’s bodies.

                                    He puts his phone down.

                        He takes out his laptop and writes a story about an alien who is raped and impregnated by a human male.

                                                          The alien returns to its home planet where it gives birth

                                              to the first human/alien hybrid the planet has ever seen.

                        The child grows up to be a great leader on its planet, but after learning the truth of its origins, it orchestrates an invasion of Earth.

                                                                                    The aliens kill every male on Earth.

                                    Earth’s women are left with the sperm in sperm banks to artificially inseminate themselves to create a new generation of men, raised exclusively by women.

            Women are finally allowed to make decisions about their own bodies.

No one ever reads the story.

                                                      Eliot Rosewater is long dead.

This is how I find you:

            naked in the kitchen                     cracking eggs into a pan.

I turn on Saturday morning NPR and sit

            at the kitchen table             in my robe            and watch you.

Time is a car I drive

            from one memory to the next

and I pause at this one long enough to take a picture,

            to remember you            there

                        with your hair a mess

            and your flaccid penis                        inches from the edge of the hot stove.

Your God followed you

from the bed                         to the kitchen                         to the table

            with two plates in hand

and made you beg forgiveness before breakfast

            for the sin                        of loving me last night.

I believe instead that the Tao will nourish me             but so will

            these eggs.

            From them I am born            and to them I will return.

So says my god: I am one with everything

            even you             and your flaccid penis.

Turn off the radio, I say            lets go back to bed.

            But you leave it on.

You want to love me                        to the sound of Peter Sagal

            and a live studio audience.

Later, at the grocery store,

            I buy butter, bread, milk,             more eggs.

                                    I forget this moment.

I’m fine

(CW: Rape and Violence)

She says

                Rape is a piece of rotten meat,

devoured by flies. Did you know that

flies that bite you are just trying

to eat you? We’re all just a breath away from

rotten meat.

                        She says

                                        I still don’t know what it was.

He loved me. He was angry. I had hurt him. He said I

deserved what I got. I know that’s bullshit but still,

I never said no.

                              She says

                                              good and evil are a

spectrum: what’s the inherent evil in the act

of reading the newspaper versus raping

your girlfriend? Who got hurt? I’m


            She says

                            every knot he tied

to bind me after that was a noose

strung to an ancient oak tree. He never

knew because I never told him.

                                                         She says

our intimacy became a pile of dead things

on the floor of our bedroom. I hated the feel

of his spit on my lips, the taste of his breathe in

my mouth.

                     She says

                                     you know, he stopped on

his own, when he realized he was hurting

me. How does an angry, volatile man

draw the line between kink and rape?

What if I was afraid of him long

before he decided that an

invasion of my body was an

adequate punishment for infidelity?

She says

                I still don’t blame him. I don’t

blame anyone. It’s just a thing that happened

a long time ago. Like I said, I’m


Samantha Imperi is a Ph.D. Poetry student at Ohio University. She received her MFA from the NEOMFA program at the University of Akron in 2023. Her work can be found in Wild Roof Journal, The Great Lakes Review, and the Festival Review, among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @simperi08 or visit for more information.

Dotted Line