Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Fall 2013    fiction    all issues


Chris Joyner
Wrestlemania III
& other poems

Carey Russell
Visiting Hours
& other poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Cabinet of Wonders
& other poems

Jonathan Travelstead
Prayer of the K-12
& other poems

Jennifer Lowers Warren
Our Daughter's Skin
& other poems

Jeff Burt
The Mapmaker's Legend
& other poems

Patricia Percival
Giving in to What If
& other poems

Toni Hanner
& other poems

Christopher Dulaney
& other poems

Suzanne Burns
Window Shopping
& other poems

Katherine Smith
Mountain Lion
& other poems

Peter Kent
Surliness in the Green Mountains
& other poems

William Doreski
Gathering Sea Lavender
& other poems

Huso Liszt
Fresco, The Forlorn Virgin...
& other poems

Clifford Hill
How natural you are
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

David Kann
Dead Reckoning
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Music of As Is
& other poems

Tori Jane Quante
Creatio ex Materia
& other poems

G. L. Morrison
Baba Yaga
& other poems

Joe Freeman
In a Wood
& other poems

George Longenecker
Bear Lake
& other poems

Benjamin Dombroski
South of Paris
& other poems

Ryan Kerr
& other poems

Josh Flaccavento
Glen Canyon Dam
& other poems
& other poems

Christine Stroud
& other poems

Abraham Moore
Inadvertent Landscape
& other poems

Chris Haug
Cow with Parasol
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Fiberglass Madonna
& other poems

Emily Hyland
The Hit
& other poems

Sam Pittman
Growth Memory
& other poems

Alex Linden
The Blues of In-Between
& other poems

Bobby Lynn Taylor
& other poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Alia Neaton
Cosmogony I
& other poems

Elisa Albo
Each Day More
& other poems

Noah B. Salamon
& other poems

Elisa Albo

Each Day More

for Alexander Standiford

How do we negotiate

this one, the utter fragility

between here and gone,

the thinnest filament?

An eighteen-year-old,

your youngest, the baby

you carried, fed with

your mother fingers,

your father hands,

the boy you photographed

to capture and keep still,

present. How you fussed

and worried, driving him

to games, movies so many

lessons, to college, away,

into the world. How do we

carry on? How do we look

into your mother eyes, your

father face, the sibling hearts?

His life loomed large with yours,

buoyed by books art food drink,

by the laughter we gathered

each August of his life

to welcome new students

with the old. Then we entered

your home not in summer,

to a space suspended

between the ache of the gravel

driveway and the blades

of grass in the backyard,

the chill of the pool water

and the shade on the rooftop

patio, leaving us poised

with pain in air we’re made

to breathe, untethered,

as if the gravity that holds

each child to the earth

has lost some of its force,

and there is too much sky,

each day more.


Accountant. A startled bird, the word

escaped three times the next day,

flit from the radio, dropped out

of the mouth of a salesman, then

from a stranger in the street. I didn’t

want to hear it. I didn’t want to know

of numbers—bills, taxes. His age: 46.

Three, his children: 16, 12, 9. The date,

the last day of Passover, forever

marked in the Blackberry mind

like birthdays on or near deaths—

my sister’s next to my grandmother’s,

my daughter’s on my cousins’—

or like the ages one holds one’s breath

to pass over, those regular doves,

because my grandfather didn’t and

my uncle didn’t and my cousins

who flew suddenly, their skin still

smooth. I don’t want to hear of numbers,

calculators, balances. A moth taps

on my bathroom window, trapped

when I closed it earlier. Debit, credit.

If I crank it open, I’ll wake the sleeping.

If I don’t, it will die, sooner. Too soon.

The last time I saw Artie was at our nephew’s

bar mitzvah, November 17th. Thirteen.

Three times that weekend—Saturday

morning service, evening celebration,

Sunday brunch. He and I stood in

my brother’s living room, spoke of his

daughter, 12. Her three black belts.

She played with my daughter, 5.

I don’t want to know of numbers,

parties, food, though I made a cake

to take to his house, their house

minus one. To make the cake,

separate four eggs, measure a cup

of sugar, a half cup of cocoa, set the oven

temperature, the timer, for . . . . how long?

Hurricane Sandy, 2012

Perhaps she dreams they are swimming,

propelled by waves that collected them

from her arms, small legs kicking to stay

afloat now that they’ve learned to swim

the waters of Staten Island. They are thrilled,

as children are when they learn to swim,

to read, to ride a bike. Holding hands,

the four-year-old protective of the two-year-old—

that’s how she sees them when she wakes,

when she walks through the neatness

of emptiness and half expects to find

small forms on their big boy beds, blankets

kicked off, so that she’ll enter quietly, navigate

toys strewn on the floor, cover their bodies.

She used to run her hand across the forehead

of one, the curly hair of the other, and smile,

thinking, They’re beautiful when they sleep.

With their births, she became a light sleeper,

listening for a cry, a cough, for her name.

At the grocery store, she reaches for cereal,

moves past apple juice boxes. Driving home,

she sees neighbors still cleaning up after

the storm, clearing debris, repairing homes.

For many, the lights have come back on.

Inside her house, she rests her head against

a window frame. Where are the small, bright

faces that so resemble hers? She waits for

a faint knock on the door, to open it, to find them

before her, a little taller, wet, so happy to see her.

The Pianist, Final Scene

Once again he sits at the piano in the Polish radio station,

the studio wood shiny and intact, no bombs exploding,

no plaster dust falling or young men diving for cover.

Once again he sits at the piano, tall and clean shaven,

healthy. The waterfalls and rustling leaves of Bach fly

from his fingers, filling the air with their light, the sound

engineer behind glass, smiling, rapt. Once again he is

playing this piano. When a friend he hasn’t seen since before

the war enters, the pianist, still playing, looks over, smiles

a joyful greeting that, unlike the notes, fades, gradually

saddens to include the faces of his mother, his father,

a brother, two sisters who listened and laughed each day

as he played in their home, who perished in the camps

while he ran, hid, froze, starved nearly to death, and once

again plays on the radio and in concert halls for survivors.



The camp sits empty now. Knots of tour groups peer

into dusty barracks, glance at communal toilets, over

stone walls rising from a dry moat that never defended

a thing or being. Along the paths between buildings,

gravel cracks, crunches. The noise wrecks the air,

my ears, the inner barracks of my heart each time I step

like stepping on bones, graves—who knows in this dust

what remains? Ushered into a low building we scurry

through a long, narrow passage and abruptly out to,

the guide informs, the very spot where people were

shot. I look down to my feet. I want to rise above

the ground, to not step anywhere. During the war,

did Red Cross workers who visited this model camp

an hour east of Prague believe the Nazi propaganda

film, makeshift stores, soccer games and cheering

crowds were real? Stopping at a memorial that holds

a fistful of soil from other camps, Sara, a young woman

from New York, bends down for a stone to place on

the marble and in a parallel gesture, I bend with her,

as I’ve done at my grandmother’s grave, to remember . . .

yisgadal, v’yisgadash, sh’ may rabo . . . the Kaddish

spills from my lips, first lines, all I recall of the Hebrew

prayer for the dead. I rush out of the compound—

past rows of bright white crosses, Stars of David,

bunches of red carnations like thousands of small

explosions or individual burning bushes in front

of each unnamed marker—into the parking lot

past food stands, tourists eating candy and rapidly

dissolving ice cream, cameras strung from their necks.

The floor in the Terezin Museum is carpeted, voices

hushed. Galleries split with partitions display pictures

and papers—an edict, a warning, several orders, plans,

charts, drawings, photographs, records, so many careful

records naming victims, giving them faces, people who

passed through trains to Belzec, Chelmo, Majdanek,

Sobibor, Treblinka, and Osvetim, Czech for Auschwitz,

everything typed up, written down, catalogued, thoroughly

documented, as if someone someday would need to know

exactly to whom, precisely when, where, how many . . .

why? On a monitor in several galleries, an elderly woman

recounts her days in Terezin, her words close captioned

in English for the multitudes of tourists, many of whom sigh,

having had enough of death and despair for one day. But

the videotape is on a loop—she cannot stop telling her story.

Elisa Albo’s chapbook, Passage to America, is now available as an e-book. Born in Havana and raised in central Florida, her poems have appeared in Alimentum, Bomb, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Stream Magazine, InterLitQ, Irrepressible Appetites, The Potomac Journal, Tigertail: A South Florida Annual. She recently completed To Sweeten the Flesh, a collection of food poems, and teaches English and ESL at Broward College. She lives with her husband and daughters in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Dotted Line