Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2013    fiction    all issues


Sharron Singleton
Five Poems

Sarah Giragosian
Five Poems

Jenna Kilic
Five Poems

Kristina McDonald
Five Poems

Toni Hanner
Five Poems

Annie Mascorro
Five Poems

Brittney Corrigan
Three Poems

S. E. Hudgens
Four Poems

Ali Doerscher
Four Poems

David Sloan
Three Poems

Olivia Cole
Five Poems

Lucy M. Logsdon
Four Poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Four Poems

Donna Levine Gershon
Five Poems

Eva Heisler
The Olden Days

Stephanie Rose Adams
Five Poems

Jill Kelly
Five Encounters

Ben Bever
Five Poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Five Poems

Arlene Zide
Three Poems

Harry Bauld
Five Poems

Lisa Zerkle
Four Poems

Peter Mishler
Five Poems

Tim Hawkins
Five Poems

Marqus Bobesich
Four Poems

Abigail Templeton-Greene
Five Poems

Eric Duenez
Five Poems

Anne Graue
Five Poems

Susan Laughter Meyers
Five Poems

Peter Kahn
Two Poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Linda Sonia Miller
The Kingdom

Nicklaus Wenzel
Skagit River

Holly Cian
Five Poems

Susan Morse
Five Poems

Daniel Lassell
Five Poems

Svetlana Lavochkina
Temperate Zones

Daniel Sinderson
Three Poems

Catherine Garland
Five Poems

Michael Fleming
Five Poems

Peter Mishler

Film School

They were lost in the raw footage:

among the boy-fishermen

we could barely see for the trees,

the shining lake, the sand-woods

that appear on the roadsides ten miles

from the shore—those empty pools

I wanted most were gone.

And now I’m waking up in early April

seeing what I thought you’d shot,

watching from behind the fence

as you climbed onto the private grounds

to crouch there—camera held

to your face—when cameras

were large enough to brush

your lips against. You whispered

to each other, Here’s a place

on which we both agree.

The yellowing calisthenics field,

the drained Olympic pool—white

at the bottom, not the hospital-blue

I would have guessed—blackened leaves

and summer hair swept to its corners.

I can climb to face you now—

leaning in, believing you’d pulled

the whole tableaux into the lens

the way a cloth is drawn into a fist

for magic. And I can take your hands away,

the way I would have never touched

your hands, lowering first from your face

the camera with the small, red light

we must have chosen to forget.

Human Water

Childhood is a human water, a water

which comes out of the shadows.

—Gaston Bachelard

Boy beside

a rain-barrel

curling his hand

over its edge—

his fingers yellow

in the roof-dark water

he can’t see.

He places on its surface

a branch of holly

from the yard

and its reflection

breaks his own.

I’m remembering

and misremembering

and stepping through

a public field.

I am alone,

so there are three of us:

within my body,

there is also me,

but more corrective,

age-rings in my eyes,

coming down

from the house

to stay him, shouting:

what did I tell you

about playing

with visions

by the water

when I’m not watching?

His small hand

holds a wasp, a lamp,

a deer, a field,

a wall, a flame

calling for anything

he names

to be lifted over

the barrel’s edge.

The field

we step through

almost cries

within its early

fallen leaves,

to let itself be known

against our feet,

and we are overwhelmed

to know it.

We walk

beneath its trees

as when I crossed into

an August evening

with my friends,

and saw their bathtub

in the yard, and listened

to their bathtub joke—

I was in love with them,

and didn’t speak,

and there was one of me,

and it was empty.

Stop Thinking And Eat Something

A cinematic eye

I should no longer trust

follows a waitress

in blue;

and the neon

gem’s light

is blinking outside

at no traffic,

and blinks

on the surfaces

of her shoes.

A framed poster

gathers the heroes

and villains

of the Marvel


they stare out

with vengeance

onto empty booths.


my child-life

is shaking its wings

at the curb,

then rises

into a late summer heat

toward the gray


of the mall.

I must try

to pull back

from this whole


but then,

I am recognized—

this blue tray coming:


on Wonder Bread,

gravy and mashed,

green parsley atop

a thin nick of orange,

and a strawberry



of ice shards

climbing the sides

of its glass.


New trash left

in the spring mud:

honeybun wrappers

gifted by

the season’s

teenage lovers

who earn

their paramours

running each other

down and away

from school

on wet pavement.

Their litter’s

nutritional information

is still intact—

you can rejoin it

with your hands.

I want to reconnect

the Red Lake 40

and swim in it

under the stars.

Mouth to Cartridge

The 8-bit melody of an open-world game,

when submerged in his dream, takes the form

of real language once the boy is awake.

Its haunting and tinny redundancy binds

with the words and phrases of morning.

The screen-light, and its character—

who darts from task to task—are ripples now,

now that he’s up and dressed as children

were once made to dress for the airlines.

He bikes to his swim-club and stands

on its diving-board, closed for the season.

Gathered leaves and dark green liquid

extracted from August pause in a corner

of the empty diving well. Snow

is beginning to rest on the light

shoulder-pads of his Sunday-school blazer

and onto its gilded buttons: their little anchors

exposed in relief. He knows there’s nothing

below for him, but what better place

for a boy to seek when his game, its song

and its fever, are drowned in his head—

their maps and clues leading him here.

Peter Mishler is a public school teacher living in Syracuse, New York. His poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, Crazyhorse, New Ohio Review, and other publications.

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