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

Ryan Kerr


There are hours of tonguing the loose tooth

before I decide to remove it with my own fingers.

In my memory it feels much the same

as the resigned detachment of sectioning a grapefruit.

The same resistant tug of sinews

clinging either to ivory or the fleshy meat.

It is reluctant and stubborn,

bringing with it nerves and tissue,

coaxed by a child’s impetuousness.

The dance of spit and blood

in the stainless steel sink.

The tooth is a lesson.

The pulp and papery matter of childhood.

The space of wistful, smiling mouths.


A knot on the middle finger,

formed when just a child

from gripping pencil and writing,

always writing. Here, the body altered

for the first time in an enduring way

that cannot be undone, as it grows

and calcifies over the decades.

Now littered scattershot over this

dusty landscape. A faint blemish

here where I sliced my hand open

cleaning the kitchen knife one night,

a cut under the eye with no history. Or follow the map

to this consequence of imprecise umbilical detachment.

A patch here of bedraggled forest,

dimpled, speckled birthmark.

The ohm that transcends these rough thistles

and cavernous valleys, thundering

their confidences solely, sadly to one another.

I perch on this mountain and wait

to discover a soft and small prick of inspiration.


You would like to see a peony in your budvase,

so you consider going out to clip one

from our neighbor’s garden while she is away,

yet you also see it dying quietly in its ewer,

much the same as they do in the gardens.

When you realize that they will all be gone

by the end of May, you change your plans

to rhododendrons, hyacinths, hydrangeas.

We consider what plants will thrive in the shade

of the front yard and the burgeoning sun

in the back. We consider what areas of the yard

are richest or in greatest need. We push our fingers

into the dirt together, tilling and plodding to cultivate

something poignant and perfect. Planning

what to seed and what to pull. Engineering, hoping.

What blossoms will be the result of our architecture?

“Every morning now I wake”

Every morning now I wake

and step into our failure

of a backyard,

to drink my coffee and consider

all things unfinished.

Youth Apocrypha

I think back to my years

that were dedicated to frivolity

and hope that it is not a thing

to be throttled out of my own children.

I seek to fall in step now

behind the smoking teenagers,

not to chide, but to capture

some ephemeral part of my youth

when I sat across from friends at

barroom tables discussing stories

as though they were the only things

that mattered. Which they were.

Which they are. These toppled pieces

that lie today like ice cubes

spilled out of a short glass,

spinning wildly before melting.

Ryan Kerr is a teacher, writer, and musician living in central Illinois. He is currently pursuing his EdD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His poems have appeared in Poetry Motel and Matter.

Dotted Line