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

Emily Hyland

The Hit

When Daiquane is eighteen years old

and two months into his eleventh-grade year

he is hit by two chabóns who drive with intention.

They drive a Toyota Celica, green like the trees, which

do not line the block, the trees that smell like summers

Daiquane watches on TV. Even if there were trees

like along those downtown blocks with tulips at the roots, they would

just seem invisible against the place he calls home.

Trees seem everywhere in his dreams.

In a recurring cycle of sleep, when he still

lived with his mother and could still feel the heat

of angry words on her breath

when she pulled the sheets over him at night,

so soon as he would close his eyes, he would climb the pines—

besotted by limbs like ladder rungs—up

toward some other dimension.

It is a desert of death when they are through. They have

hit him once to knock him to the ground—

heavy teenage trunk uprooted—rims aglitter in the lamplight,

and then turned around—

right wheels upon the curb in the sharp swing

back towards the fallen, to cruise over

his skull and away,

into the night,

dicks hard

with the ache of adrenaline.

Gray Matter

I finish reading Bessie’s murder out loud

on the day I get assaulted at school.

There is a sudden hand-to-weave hair-fight

that descends upon the classroom

over an inadvertent brush-by

in the doorway over lip gloss

and then I try to talk one girl

off the ledge of this mania—

we are in a putrid corner of the hallway now—

my white arms out long

to lock her away from all of this

misdirected fury, and

her hands lunge into my chest

magnetize and stick

while a dewy, halcyonic mist

blurs action from cognition.

And it’s not the falling back as much as

the way the flesh of my breasts inverts

under the heels of her Dorito-licked hands

and the furnace-minded charge of

that anger,

which meets me

through the muscle-jolt

of a girl who lacks

plain agency:

that makes my feet lose the floor

and topple.

I hear some communal

gasp; someone whispers

“She pushed Ms. Emily”

and their eyes say

I am more sacrosanct

than the girl who is

bleeding from her skull-skin

in the other room

or the other in front of me

who they can already barely see

anymore. This truculent breast-push

is the apogee of violence in my life—

Bigger’s hands slide

onto Mary’s rum-beat

breasts, his hands

touch Bessie’s breasts,

resigned. Her hands slam

mine, so that

she is Bigger and

I am Mary and Bessie

and I am Bigger, too, and she

is Mary and Bessie

and she

and I

just tumble into a cycle

of perpetual subjugation

that stretches across

a span of score in which

we are all perpetrators

because of what we are born into

and trapped by the prophesy

that contains each iota

of our

inevitable lives.

I’d Had A Long Day


In the basement, the Haitian kid and the Jamaican kid

finally had it out for their countries. As beef patties

flew around the cafeteria like saucers,

the Haitian kid and the Jamaican kid

fused and rolled into the hallway.

The half-dressed throngs from the locker rooms

and sweaty jerseys from the gym spilled forth

by way of intuition and chatter; they

salivated for the primacy of action. The whole building

turned in and over itself; children sluiced down the stairwells

towards inevitable circumstance.

By the time the school safety agents

rounded up and lollied down

like a troop of Shakespearian boobies, enough time had passed

for the wheels to have stopped. And when they

neared the Haitian kid and the Jamaican kid, motion

was already invisible.

In the epicenter was a mess of stress, and the agents

stiffened up at the sight. One child dialed 9-1-1 on his cell, but

reception was poor in the basement

and his voice too still for the responder.

When the EMT crew did descend upon the spot,

the gym teacher stood up from holding in the blood

somewhere along the curve where neck meets shoulder,

where the scissors still stuck in. His clothes

looked like sheets of symmetrical inkblots. He looked—

in his sweatpants—as if he had just emerged

from messily painting a house.

After lockdown, after the coroner

packed the Jamaican kid into a bag and stole

out of the school in a whisper, and after the news cameras

snuck glances through the windows into

our emergency faculty meeting,

I found myself glazed on the train platform at Utica.


Two young brothers and their younger sister walk past me.

Their sneakers blink red each time their feet hit the
concrete, except

the sister’s, which blink pink and silver glitter. We are all

near the end of the platform and the air is dank. I’ve had a long day,

and I think that to myself while rubbing my eyes

with my fingers as the kids walk by.

The boys stop on either side of their sister. They

look like her bodyguards. They stand on the bumpy yellow strip,

which is too close to the platform edge. They are not

her bodyguards. She is little. I think

she is good at math. They eye each other and then

grab their sister, one brother at each of her arms. She is

squirming, but they hold strong, inching

closer to the rim. They start to hold her over.

Her feet are trying for the edge, pointing down and

straining back. I’ve had enough today. I

muster up the teacher voice. “Excuse me, gentlemen,”

I say. “Put her down. Right. Now.

Don’t think I won’t ride home with you

and tell your mother what just went on.”

They are back on the platform now, all feet

on concrete. I say, “Stand by the wall.” Their sister

slides towards me. The older of the brothers

pulls her back by the handle of her Dora knapsack.

“Young man!” My voice is shrill like my mother

when we climbed too high in the pine trees.

Do not touch her again.”

“Whatchu gonna do bout it?”

I am red as that puddle near the gym now.

“Come here and stand with me,” I say to her. “My name is Emily.”

The younger brother is looking down at his shoes now.
The other one

goes on, “Miss Emily, see—we Bloods. My boy Pumpkin gonna

fuck you up. We gonna ride the train

and follow you home.”

He holds up a machine gun made of the air and

chouk-chouk-chouk-chouk-chouks me

with the fantastic spray of his imagination.

After the gunfire subsides, I look him in the eyes.

“I know what I’m gonna do with you,” I say.

I gently put my tote bag on the ground. “Fuck

off already lady,” he whines.

We are only a foot apart. He is small, around seven. I

lunge in, lift him hard under the armpits, and walk him

to the platform edge.

I can feel the grooves

of the yellow strip beneath my feet like

root-knolls on a trail. I can feel rushes of blood

surge into my elbows as his weight tests my arms,


I can feel the humid breeze from the tunnel

hit my wicked face as nearing headlights

expose the rusty tracks below us.

To Ms. Olds

When I am writing in my room

I leaf through a womb of yours

crawl into the purplish bruise

and hope my thoughts turn lucid,

that this femininity waxes meaningful,

that I am bleeding ovaries, that

I talk to my children in dreams

where I am running through ferns

to discover them inside me someday.

That I had sex, too, and practiced

speaking of this pastoral body.

I find some space of yours

in a splash of blood; your sister

peed on you—my sister’s head hit

the coffee table spinning

and I was soaked. It seemed like

pomegranates exploded into rain

and she was dripping. I laughed

at my father when he cried and sat

with my mother over her cottage cheese

and disorders, watched her slam a feeble

fist into the glass atop the kitchen table

because I wouldn’t use a fork

to eat my sushi. I am a part

of this Freudian demeanor—the long hair

down my spine like man-o-war tendrils

ready to shock or choke any toucher,

the glasses that keep me one wall

from my meeting Baudrillard—

this poetry is a matrix of movers

and your speaker is some

anthropomorphic women

trapped on the page like

the woman in the yellow

hedges of insomnia, crazed

she didn’t have the audacity to jump.

February 29th

It was early. I was standing

on the platform at 72nd street

waiting for the 1 train to arrive. I was

reading about meeting the things

that scare you. The book was

blue with a black trim

and the first page had a pleasurable texture

and was patterned in an interlocking chain

that made it look like wrapping paper

one might use

to wrap a bottle of scotch

for a grandfather

or journal for a

nascent father.

The train flew in

and a man standing

too close to the platform edge let himself

fall in front of it. He twisted

to lie back against

the face of the train for a moment

so he could hold a new perspective

and then tumbled under

as the train lurched into

the stillness of the emergency.

All women on the platform

started screaming. I

started screaming. I started screaming

from some place inside

that doesn’t even discern

the why of it. I felt

a shock of silver

shoot down

through my organs

as if my body set off a flash

and my memory

snapped a picture of the feeling

to store in the place that

registers the viscerals.

I kept looking around hoping

to see someone I knew to share

in the fear of it all

and when nobody registered

I hugged my book against

my breast so tightly that

my fingers were cold

when I released. I heard

the conductor’s voice

over the loud speaker indicate

there were delays on

the 1 train and that

the express train,

whose doors were open

across the platform,

would run local. I walked into

an almost empty car

and a woman with sunglasses on

and green hospital scrubs

hugged me into her arms

and rubbed my back. She

sat me down. She kept

repeating “It’s okay. Calm

down. It’s okay.” The train

was there as

a sitting room. His

body seemed

to collapse

into the moment of its death

as if it knew relief

was coming. There was

no fear in his posture, nor

steadfastness in his spine. He

fell like a limp fish. His coat

was olive and beige and

his blue jeans looked flaccid like water.

I did not look into the woman’s eyes

who consoled me. I did not ask

her name. I said “I need to go up

to the street,” and I walked

towards the stairs. I had been waiting

at the end of the platform

for the back of the train

so had to walk

the length of the suicide

in order to exit. People

were crowded around where

the man was under the train wheels

trying to peer into his life.

All of the people exited the train.

They wore blank expressions

through the doors and did not know

the reason for the abrupt end

to their journey. Nobody was

in control. Some new commuters

were walking onto the platform.

The express train left. I walked

onto the street and called Matt

right away. I was sobbing and hiccupping

among the suits. I told him

I loved him and then

walked the 12 blocks up to work.

Emily Hyland lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York. Presently, she is a yoga instructor, but before this career shift, she was a high school English teacher in some of the city’s most high-needs schools; a lot of her recent poetry is inspired by that experience. She has published poems in the Brooklyn Review, The Awakenings Review, and Stretching Panties and is working to publish her collection of poetry about the reality of teaching in NYC.

Dotted Line