Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2014    fiction    all issues


Anne Rankin-Kotchek
Letter to the World
from a Dying Woman
& other poems

Sara Graybeal
Ghetto City
& other poems

Tee Iseminger
& other poems

Lisa Beth Fulgham
After They Sold the Cows...
& other poems

Mary Mills
The Practical Knowledge
of Women
& other poems

Monika Cassel
Waldschatten, Muttersprache
& other poems

Michael Fleming
To a Fighter
& other poems

Daniel Stewart
& other poems

John Glowney
& other poems

Hannah Callahan
The Ptarmigan Suite
& other poems

Lee Kisling
How the Music Came
to My Father
& other poems

Jose A. Alcantara
Finding the God Particle
& other poems

David A. Bart
Veteran’s Park
& other poems

Greg Grummer
War Reportage
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

J. K. Kitchen
Anger Kills Himself
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
The Man Who Wished
He Was Lego
& other poems

Jessica M. Lockhart
Scylla of the Alabama
& other poems

James P. Leveque
Three Films of Jean Painlevé
& other poems

Kelsey Charles
& other poems

Therese L. Broderick
& other poems

Lane Falcon
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Bird
& other poems

Phoebe Reeves
Every Petal
& other poems

David Livingstone Fore
Eternity is a very long time...
& other poems

Tim Hawkins
Northern Idyll
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
On the Pillow Where You Lie
& other poems

Joey DeSantis
Baby Names
& other poems

Cameron Price
Every Morning
& other poems

David Walker
Sestina for Housesitting
& other poems

Helen R. Peterson
& other poems

Hannah Callahan

The Ptarmigan Suite


When I first flew south

I was brown with white wings

And I lived above the timberline.

In winter, white with black tails,

I frequented the tundra,

Quiet farms, yards, and barren hills

And loved willow scrub the best.

If you’d sat down in a sheltered valley

I might have called to you

As I did in those days,

A deep and raucous holler

Had I pebbles in my voice box:

Go-out! Go-out!




The first time I pore over A Field Guide to the Birds

I obsess over the ptarmigan, willow and rock. Why,

Here’s a sort of grouse shaped like a horn of plenty,

Unremarkable; once I was described as a plain Jane;

Stout, brown, pigeon-like, but lacking what it takes to live in density

And it makes the sound of a soul leading a body toward fire.


Chimney Swift


Some birds look like sails when they fly

Or sound like harps when they sing

And the myth I’ve heard is that the Devil

Is where the birds sing through the night,

In winter white, off a quiet hill

Eclipsed by the willow scrub.

I’ve heard a big, big ghost

Is who shelters the sheltered valleys.

Truthfully, I’m not for superstition

But if you could change colors,

Could leave when it snowed, could

Fly off the moment you were scared,

There would be a name in the ether

For you.


Despite the ways each bird in Heaven is superior to me

Only I step this far back when needing to look.

As for now, we’ve all gone: shot, caged, or eaten.

We sit around trying to arrive collectively at something real,

Something about what it meant to live as birds.

One bird says This is what the wind felt like,

One says This is what it felt like for the wind to blow,

One even says Here’s a sensation similar to the wind.

But the ptarmigan, the under-bird, the ground-feeder,

The last one being carried off in the teeth of a fox,

Says Me, I can still feel the wind.

I can go-back and feel it.


Some nights this winter a great-horned owl was wont to perch outside my bedroom window.

I’d never once see him. But his call, working like boiling water over the ice-thick air,

Caused me several times to think he was right beside me in bed.

The Great-Horned Owl: As large as our largest hawks, and fierce-looking.

So much fiercer than my ptarmigan bird, nights he hooted to me through the glass,

I imagined him sky-stalking, with preternatural foresight, so that the motion of the stars

To him, was as jewels scattering across a floor.

Untrue, but the image struck me nevertheless, because I was smaller than he was.

Because he could see me through the dark, and often told me so.

Hannah Callahan was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of four. She studied literature and printmaking at Bennington College in Vermont, and currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. Hannah is a writer, collage artist, and extremely amateur thereminist. She is also the co-founder of Her loftiest dream is to walk across country to Roswell, New Mexico to find a UFO.

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