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

R. G. Evans


The worst part about being the guy in the cartoon

hanging shackled to a dungeon wall is the mirror.

It wasn’t always here, like back when I was young

and sure of rescue, hurling curses at my jailers

wherever, whoever they were. I was vain enough then

I’d probably stare for hours, mugging at my reflection,

sucking in my gut. But no. They slipped it in

one night last year as I hung sleeping. When I awoke,

both I and the haggard old man across from me

screamed ourselves hoarse. Or is it as I hanged sleeping?

If I could shrug, he’d shrug too. Xylophone-ribbed.

Hair and beard an inseparable, lice-ridden thicket.

I know it’s just a mirror, but I also know he watches me

as I sleep, or pretend to sleep, dreaming that instead

of being stretched by time here in this god-lost dungeon,

I’m somewhere in the Caribbean or South Pacific maybe,

just me and a lone palm tree, no one who looks like me.

No one at all. One day if I’m lucky a bottle washes up,

a little rolled note inside that says only, “Look.”

And when I do, he’s there in the glass surface of the bottle,

hollow-eyed and screaming at me loud enough to wake me

but not to rouse my jailers. They wouldn’t come

if he screamed all night, the way he’s planning to.

Something about a Suicide

Something about a suicide makes us

tread more lightly as if the ground

once trod by the voluntary dead

grew spongy and unwell, as if to move

might send distress signals like a fly

in a web to whatever hungry mouth

might be waiting to eat us.

We make a thousand secret shrines

we think no one can see, but pass another faithful

on the street and you know. The bowed head.

Eyes looking straight at someone no longer here.

Every one a reliquary, bearing pieces

of the one true do-it-yourself cross,

ready to nurse doubt into belief and beyond.

The Edge

Go to the edge. We have always gone to the edge,

to the place where the land becomes the sea,

where with one more step we become something less

solid, less substantial as well. This is why we can’t stay,

why the edge compels us to take a bit of it away.

A handful of scallop shells. A bit of sea glass

bluer than our memory of the sea itself. Perhaps

one larger shell, one with an obstruction

that looks like a concrete seal, no way to hold it

to the ear and have the imagined sea remind us

of the edge. Take it away. Take it into your home.

Forget it for a day or two. You will find it or

it will find you, the way the wrong breeze

from the salt marsh finds you: by the nose.

You will find that the obstruction was a living foot

that dragged its spined and sacred safety

out of the closet and onto the bathroom floor

to its final rest on the rough, sea-less tile.

The edge never comes to us, and this is why.

We know no better than to think we have control,

that the edge will bow to us. Go to the edge

with your shell-shaped ear. A sound like the sea

will be waiting.

The Magi

The alpaca seemed resigned to the vultures

that ringed it where it lay in the mud.

The black-headed birds stood sentinel,

not moving a feather, just watching

as the alpaca’s chest rose and fell

and rose and fell again, rapid, shallow breaths.

The vultures waited. A soaking rain

had fallen for hours, only stopping

when the birds arrived. The alpaca lay

sunken so far in the black and deepening slop,

the stillborn cria beneath her breast

all but concealed, only a pair of legs

motionless in the mud. The mother panted

and tried to lick her child’s wool clean.

The cria disappeared into the muck

under its mother’s weight. The vultures

stood in a ring, watching, waiting.

The low skies promised rain.

The Maximist

When he thought he loved the human race

he wrote novels, brick-sized monuments to lives

in chaos, filling the holes in those lives

with every word he could. Then he fell in love

with days that certain people lived

and wrote short stories, road maps to guide them

through the intricacies of 24 hours in a life that

as a whole he could never love. Then he became a lover

of organs: heart, brain, liver, the generous lock and key

of penis and vagina. At last he was a poet,

scribbling 15 minute odes to love and loss,

drunks and other philosophers, and he would

stand up at a microphone and read them,

like a man fellating himself in public.

But now he is a hermit, more wisdom than love in his life.

He writes maxims in the sand, and when the tide comes in,

in the water. The wise man knows,

but tries to love nonetheless. A single fist

contains more truth than all the libraries in the land.

This is the sand. That is the sea.

Try to tell the difference to a word.

R. G. Evans’s poems, fiction and reviews have appeared in publications such as Rattle, The Literary Review, Paterson Literary Review, and Weird Tales. His original music, including the song “The Crows of Paterson,” was featured in the 2012 documentary film All That Lies Between Us, about the life and work of poet Maria Mazziotti Gillan. Evans teaches high school and university English and Creative Writing in southern New Jersey.

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