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

Writer's Site

   Joey DeSantis

Baby Names

Let’s call him Baby Doom

or maybe Tricycle Madness would better suit him

or Lester’s Little Secret, Braunze, Fire Catcher

Blood Drinker or The Dream Machine

Samuel is nice too, I know

but you ruled that one out months ago

You also ruled out Jacob, Peter, Daniel, Addison

and Joseph

which was my baby name brainchild but

oh well

You are right to want something flashier

like Superjerk, Gnashings St. Claire, Lydio

Brother’s Bane, Davidson

or even just Slice

He will go on to do great things potentially

Of this your blond-winged friend was certain

so long, he said, as we pick just the right name

And so we must ask ourselves

would Cookies N’ Cream rid the world of evil

or merely turn the other cheek?

Could an angry Clementine overturn a money table?

I think not, but Jesus might

Why not Jesus?

Or how about Jeezus

Now there’s a boy destined for something greater

a boy who could easily hold his own inside the ring

maybe an Italian with a great sob story

I can already see the headlines and the VIP tickets proclaiming

Red Foam Drinker versus Little Baby Jeezus

I see our root beer cups overflowing as our heavenly son

deals RFD a left hook for the ages

fated, unable to hold back, winning

all the fruits of our careful planning

Out of Time

My father is flowing clockwise

in a holiday sweater vest and a gold chain watch

He is down in the groove, swimming through

the electric grey rooms

kept warm by the stove light, and on the table

a bowl of ham and pea soup

Immigration was his grandfather’s story

yet he too finds comfort in the small

At night, laying himself in the arms of his armchair

he can at last afford to go nowhere

My mother is flowing counter-clockwise

still as beautiful as she was

fifteen years ago, twenty years

back when the sun and sky made a point

to match everything that she wore

I believe now that they even changed colors

for her secret moods

Had I known it then I might have seen her apart from me

Her jade necklace is timeless

Her laughter is timeless, his records and her red coat

that he gave her that she always wore

I grow

I am the clock–the testament to the full length of things

I tell it like it is

The dinner plates with the hearts on the rims, they are timeless

until another one breaks (not out of anger)

Not out of anger, I dropped it

Out of time

She asks, How many are left?

A wedding present, he says, it was our very first set

How many are left?

I point:


We Can Sell the Antiques

On most East Coast beaches

the shorelines and their crowds tend to look the same

So long as you don’t look at either too long or too hard

or lift your eyes to see a lighthouse

twirling about in some other town’s coat of paint

you can fool yourself

There is a mansion in Asbury Park filled with junk you can never quite unsee

Six door knocker faces, a pair of red kissing manikin torsos, twenty-three beautician’s scissors

dulling in the back of your brain’s dark closet

sorry-eyed, turning undead

all of it grooming a monstrous shadow

until there might be anything in that house

and everything in there might remind you of it

Today it is crowded

on the beach where kids seem to have only one kind of scream

Small talk, heavy feet, dark eyes

She must know that she is not the one walking beside you today

but so long as she doesn’t risk everything with a look, two distressed searchlights, blue

she can fool herself too

Death Considers the Buttercups

One track, one mind

Death must glide along these buttercups

without pausing to consider them

even as they hug the train of his cloak

in their harmless fervor to be chosen

by truly anyone

And yet, in a small and secret way

hidden as his hands and feet

that are weary for their journey’s end

by the shed where his old man waits

still humming in his wife’s wide-brimmed hat,

Death does consider them

The buttercups, who let him go just as quietly, no thorns

leaving only a yellow signature (a suggestion) to be remembered by

He would have sucked them dry

or at least taken a few lazy, arching swipes at their heads

but it isn’t their time yet and besides

he still has a long way to go

On Lent

Low ceilings are still en vogue

as is setting aside money in small increments

to prepare for the wise and lonely years

We all at times need God’s wrath or a Great Depression

to keep our thoughts from becoming too silly or from towering precariously

I vow to not be so outlandish

with my spending

and to apply this kind of discipline to future relationships

so that one day I may find and keep true adult love

For Lent I used to give up red squash

which I hated just as much as the other colors of squash

the purple, the green, the blue

I still do

I regret the bacon bits that ended up on my salad yesterday

that were not supposed to end up there

I pray for the strength to avoid the near occasion of bacon bits

And to understand that true love is made up of sacrifices both small and silly

True love is unsexy and is nothing to be ashamed of

Last night I dreamed

that something surprised me so much that I

swallowed the whole world

Knowledge, Wealth, and Power drifted silently across a lake in my belly

And while I considered hurling them back into the void

I was scared that I might start a new world war and possibly get shot in it

I had firmly resolved to never give up anything

when a searching voice called out my name from deep inside of me

and I felt a great relief at being judged

Joey DeSantis is working towards an M. Ed. at Boston College and will soon be a high school English teacher, somewhere. Maybe one day he’ll get that dream job writing for Nintendo. From substitute teaching to serving as a teaching assistant with KEYS Service Corps, AmeriCorps, working with youth makes his child at heart happy, as does writing poetry and listening to Bob Dylan.

Dotted Line