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

Tori Jane Quante

Watson and Crick with Double Helix

I’m behind the lens.

Crick says Should we pose?

He mocks professors with a smug grin and pointer,

while Watson plays student,

mouth agape with trepid ignorance.

They are school children on picture day;

Shirts tucked in like

mother told them to,

electric balding heads of hair,

neckties pulled a little too tight.

In their bodies, DNA is unzipping

and gathering up its other halves.

Somewhere along the twisted necklace

of their genes is that “pearl” of a paper,

the one that simply held a mirror up

and pointed it inward.

Their faces are beginning to break

into laughter right as I snap the shutter.

Oh, to be so young

and so sure you’ve changed the world.

To be dead right.

Creatio ex Materia

It’s not the kind of thing you can accept outright,

genesis, happening in your trashcan.

I imagine it started at the beginning.

Darkness over the stagnant water, the trash can sludge:

banana peels and coffee grounds, used tampons

and the cat’s feces, liquefying together

in the neglected outdoor can until something

started growing. Something new.

Phospholipid bilayers forming at an alarming rate,

the advent of spines and skins, all happening

unnoticed, as things often are,

over the course of a week.

So when that woman, that rank smelling creature

emerged from her womb of garbage,

innocent of all but warm, putrid smells,

her thick mat of hair growing woven like a tapestry,

hips slender as a child’s, body tarnished and hard

like a once golden Greek daughter of Chaos’ own

how could I feel anything but awe,

even as she munched on a half eaten banana?

No, this was no daughter of a god.

She was mine. This creature—

she is what we breed when no one is watching.

I know now, that

out there, in oceanic miles

of garbage, landfills overflowing

with an abundance of new life,

a nation is rising up, born of our neglect.

The eternal matter is this moment,

giving way. Creatio ex purgamentum,

the gods whisper in their sleep.

We have left nothing else.

World Leaders at the Premiere

The evening has just begun. See how those

monumental men, pillars of the Earth, stroll by?

Here’s Vladimir, a vision in undulant gold,

the skirt of his dress a caress,

and fox fur scarves, no one has told him they’re out of fashion.

Who cares? We love you Vladimir.

Notice, even the Dalai Lama has come off his mountain.

He’s chatting with Pope Benedict, takes his hand in both his own and shakes

the fragile man vigorously by the arm, disrupting his pointy hat.

And everyone’s darling Barack is wearing a slick little number

in simple shimmering black, curved

to the contours of his graceful neck and back.

King Abdullah stops for an interview.

Tonight he says (he’s wearing Valentino, the fall line)

Tonight we celebrate. And maybe, we bury the hatchet for good.

Because, of course, who in his right mind

wields a hatchet in Valentino?

They gather in the theater now,

file into neat lines of red velvet seats,

and jostle for armrests, suck in as others squeeze by.

Light flickers against their painted faces,

catches the gleam of their nails and jewels.


In the video he’s running. He stumbles in sand,

barrel rolls back onto his feet and keeps running

and looking back and running until

he stops, his eyes and

his whole body searching the air.

For what? What ladder rolled out from the sky

is going to spirit him away from here?—

The wide Arizona desert. The car spinning its wheels in sand.

The police sirens drawing in close, closer.

Then he turns his back on the camera,

the one he must know is watching from a helicopter above.

I also want to turn away,

but I don’t. I inhale and keep one breath.

I hold perfectly still.

Seconds later, he’s put a bullet in his brain, and he’s still standing,

a broomstick on the palm of the earth.

I start to think he’ll stay there and wait for that ladder after all,

or for the sky to swallow him.

Drinking Wine with your Neighbors

It is Sunday, after church.

A mammoth of a woman totters past me wearing

the most imposing yellow mu-mu I have ever seen.

She is a sun, a goddess among us.

I sit here

redefining my concept of beauty

to include this woman, her massive presence,

inelegance, my god, how my eye is drawn

helplessly inward and upward

to the edges of vision and reason.

And suddenly I think of heat collapsing

into fall, muscadines fermenting on the vine

even before they are pressed into wine. How

can I think for even a moment that these things,

sun and grapes, streets and

this temporary home, are not the embodiment

of blessing?—

A sun, a goddess,

Reaching upward and outward—

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Tori Jane Quante recently graduated from Georgia College & State University with a BA in English, Biology minor, and a headache. While attending Georgia College, she was the poetry editor and editor-in-chief of The Peacock’s Feet, an undergraduate-run literary journal. In addition to writing, she enjoys yoga, baking, and fretting over global warming.

Dotted Line