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

Hear Writer Read

Clifford Hill

How natural you are

why are you wearing

that tangle of honeysuckle

around your neck

that torn blouse

of rose bush thorns

tight across your breasts

that brittle skirt

of oak bark breaking

against your thighs

everyone already knows

how natural you are

from the way you move

with baby sparrows

nesting in your hair

Ice storm in Boston Public Gardens

Trees have turned metal


Of my own limbs

Bearing a weight

Of old love

Now wood and ice

Still there’s promise

Of spring thaw

Bark cracks

Crystal breaks

A sudden laugh

Through leaf

Branch trunk

The whole root of you

Domestic resolutions

It’s Saturday in the new year: I rise

at eight in domestic air to spread

lemon curd on toast and brew mint

tea in a clay pot; I carry a chaste tray

to the late bed you occupy in our

new resolve, egg and butter

beneath your creamy underwear

I’ll wash at nine. All week long

my list of resolutions grew: musk oil

for a man’s rub of leather in a woman’s

boots and beeswax for shine of oak

in your secret room: rise, old friend,

dance the winter sun: with a broom

of love I’ll sweep our closet clean.

Jasmine branch

the gold lights of Manhattan rise

and soon the jasmine branch plunges

once again in the childhood well

we crawled into for just five dollars

on a dare and there first smelled

the senseless odor of death now

hushed and violent upon this city’s

summer air to every overgrown child

migrated here from provincial town

in doomed hope that memory’s

quick shame and long haunt will dim

these thousand lights still shining

on that jasmine branch I break again

and thrust into your drowning hand

Tangerine peels

two women and a man

sit in winter light

eating chocolate and tangerines

from a crystal bowl

mint tea steams the turquoise pot

a green canary sings Mozart

among dying hibiscus

the man hears familiar talk

of transsexual politics

does gender hold the heart

at bay in heterosexual love

when bodies are the same

which can dominate the other

is coupling war or just a game

and if a game whose metaphors

furnish the players’ rules

how do they know to play

a game whose rules get written

even during the act of play

not sure what to say

or which to love

the man stands up

to clear the plates away

the woman in white

has eaten all her peels

only the chocolate’s

silver wrappings remain

on a single green leaf

the woman in black

has torn her peels

into tiny bits and stacked

them in three heaps

upon three green leaves

the man stacks three plates

in the turquoise sink

he wonders how

each woman’s hunger

can include a man

he chews a shred of bitter

peel to find the answer

pappa pappa pappageni

the canary’s song is clear

above the women’s laughter

tart tangerine in a wounded ear

Clifford Hill has recently retired from Columbia University where he held an endowed chair at Teachers College, the Arthur I. Gates Professor of Language and Education. He also directed the Program in African Languages at the Institute of African Studies in the School of International and Public Affairs where he taught the Hausa language. During his retirement he continues to conduct research on cultural variation in the ways in which language represents space and time.

Dotted Line