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

David Sloan

Hard to Breathe

Some fires won‘t catch,

no matter how carefully

the kindling’s laid. Wood’s

too wet, or punky,

or thoughtlessly stacked,

like throwing blankets

over a sleeping child’s face.

We forget about air,

the importance of pruning,

pauses that cool the lava

of afternoon blowups.

Some matches fizzle, too

little friction on the striking

surface—or too much.

The decision to flare or not

depends upon the atmosphere,

seems so random, like shooting

stars or children.

How to Lie

I lied a little at the funeral,

called you a creature of the air,

so they might think oh, like an angel

or a silver-tipped sea hawk.

But I was really picturing

you as a sky snake, envenomed

bringer of bad weather,

flinging down hood-denting hail,

whipping up a dust storm

that swallows towns whole.

I didn’t mention all the other

swallows, beginning

on the front lawn the day

you sat broken-winged, drinking

in news of your brother’s

ticked-out heart, that stillness

after the snare drum sticks

break, or the one time we forgot

the don’t-touch-there rule,

the tangle, like fish thrashing

through seaweed, and after—

the can’t-look-at-each-other look,

as if we were still kids caught jamming

lit firecrackers into frogs’ mouths,

or, years later, the bottle flung

at your daughter who walked out mid-

argument and only returned

toward the end, when that tiny spore,

yawning, stretching, greedy,

settled in your lungs like a python

with nothing else to do but coil

camouflaged in the underbrush,

and slowly squeeze all the air out.

Too Close

He’s clearing a path through the choked

woods behind his house. It’s slow going.

The juniper has taken over, crowding out

blueberries, laurel seedlings, wintergreen

shoots. Pale-needled whips wait at eye level,

deadfall lies strewn like finger bones

sprinkled from the sky, his mother’s flimsy

nightgowns still flap from branches.

She tiptoed in, smelling of licorice,

tucked in her boy, both pretending.

Sometimes she only kissed him

on the forehead. Other nights she

climbed over, curled up behind him,

hugged him hard enough to leave

an imprint of her inlaid carnelian

necklace between his shoulder blades.

Except for mosquitoes, there are no signs

of creatures in these woods: no birdsong,

no burrows, no feather tails, no ember eyes

in the darkness. Either he has driven them off

with lopper, snub-nosed shovel and bow saw,

or they fled before footfall, when they felt

the first twitch of fear, saw the future slash,

couldn’t bear the closeness coming.

David Sloan, a graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Poetry Program, teaches in Maine’s only Waldorf high school. He is the author of two books on teaching. His debut poetry collection—The Irresistible In-Between—was published by Deerbrook Editions this spring. His poetry has appeared in The Broome Review, The Café Review, Innisfree, The Naugatuck River Review and Passager, among others. He is a recipient of the 2012 Betsy Sholl and Maine Literary awards, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is currently enjoying life’s newest delight—grandfatherhood!

Dotted Line