Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2015    fiction    all issues


Cover Hannah Lansburgh

Jennifer Leigh Stevenson
For Your Own Good
& other poems

Marianne S. Johnson
& other poems

Kate Magill
Nest Study #1
& other poems

Karen Kraco
& other poems

Matt Daly
Beneath Your Bark
& other poems

Paulette Guerin
& other poems

Hank Hudepohl
Crossed Words
& other poems

Alma Eppchez
At the Back of the Road Atlas
& other poems

Jim Burrows
At the Megachurch
& other poems

Rachel Stolzman Gullo
& other poems

Yana Lyandres
New York Transplant
& other poems

Heather Katzoff
& other poems

Tom Yori
& other poems

Barth Landor
What Is Left
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
Never So Still
& other poems

George Longenecker
Polar Bears Drowning
& other poems

Ben Cromwell
Sometimes a Flock of Birds
& other poems

Robert Mammano
the way the ground shakes
& other poems

Janet Smith
Rocket Ship
& other poems

Gina Loring
& other poems

J. Lee Strickland
Minoan Elegy
& other poems

Toni Hanner
Catching the Baby
& other poems

Yana Lyandres

New York Transplant

I was born of the sound rain doesn’t make

but masquerades,

of fleeting glances

across subway platforms

for my voice is too weak

to make thoughts collide with air

in the sex of speech

but the eye can’t help but look.

I don’t know how I got from trains 1 to 3 to E

from smoking in high school

parking lots to New York City

or what about taking headache pills

makes me wish for the headache back

but stop signs are the reds of Valentines

if you let them be

and flipping through old diaries

is a requiem

for relationships passed on.

Eleven years ago, in class, we tore up squishies,

the earthworms we kept like pets,

in the name of science

and I’m still shedding tears over their

shiny intestines exposed, embarrassed

for their vulnerability.

I harden my insides with cigarettes

so when these city streets break me

and they finally get to cut me up,

there will be no wet-looking pink, blue, grey sunsets

for them to write poems about

and the black that envelopes them

will mask the wounds of the scalpels I swallow daily.

The only thing they’ll find

is what I want them to: the love letters

tucked away like children in the protection of my veins—

to the rat I saw scampering down east 10th street,

to the punk girl I met at the bodega who

thought I was the one who’s cool,

to all the people leftovers that still live inside me,

taking up space, not letting me leave.

Procession of Late Night Confessions

Sometimes coffee spilled over all

the pages, post-its of my thoughts—

soaked-through milky smell

concealing tears felt—

is a ritual cleansing,

like baptism, spring cleaning

purging of sin.

I won’t send a plague on this house,

I’m sorry, this house is not a home

rain-streaked windows

make this place more livable.

We like to talk of christenings

in lieu of baptisms in blood

I am not a martyr, I know I am not a martyr.

I know not who I am

but I know 5 AM

and its cousins—hunger sans appetite,

dry heaving over toilets, the silence

like scalpels, silence like UV rays

burning my skin with the lights turned off;


you wouldn’t believe me if I told you how

5 AM is a scalding cup of chamomile

I pour down my throat every night

and every time I’m still surprised

when it burns.

Cut Me Open, Make It Hurt

For Nancy Spungen

You cut up your arms with

love bite-heroin injection cocktails

but if you ask me about these markings

on my skin, I will bear my teeth.

This is not self-harm like my mother

tells me—it is survival.

Some people use the backs of their hands, veins—

feet because they’re easy to cover—

as a sketchbook, the medium—dad’s

toolbox nails, razors left in the med cabinet—


cut me open to prove

there is blood in these veins

instead of strings of copper, zirconium—

I don’t hide hi-tech electronic tendrils

of synapses under my hair.

I can’t tell you how to love your scars, Nancy—

like ones Barbie doesn’t have—

but mine are my art history,

and if this sharp linework and shadings,

teacup, clover, fadings in the letters

reminds you of addiction—I’d say,

Hell yeah, these beauty marks—not scars—

chart my path through self-deprecation, hatred,

crises of identity I metaphorically injected

into my veins every day for the past eight years—

yet reveal, on close inspection,

a faint floor plan back

to self-love.

I gladly go under the needle,

pour ink into my skin

to be less human—

not bionic but stronger

than bones and teeth.

Nancy, close-read yourself, study

the patchwork quilt you wrote

on your own body—I don’t talk smack.

What kind of love is this,

if you don’t come back.

Coast to Coast

I could not tell you why

I’ve never had the taste for Earl Grey tea

or why I’ve been craving shrimp lately

or why my little brother’s hands

tightening reflexively around my wrists

makes me think

of low-tide wanderings,

hermit crab-chasings,

lobster rolls with Cape Cod chips

and sweater sleeves hanging limp past my fingertips

but home is bus windows looking out

onto the calm roads of Cambridgeshire,

friends who wander with you along shorelines

past town limits ‘til you couldn’t know what would follow

or if you would be swallowed up

by seaside winds and unsaid hope-filled mementos

of future meetings, hints of which wafted toward you

from the ocean depths.

I cannot say I have much to be proud of lately,

but last week I went to bed before 11 three nights consecutively,

didn’t miss my stop on any of the trains I took,

and feasted on a love expressed in crêpes with jam

in a seaside town in Suffolk.

MD’s Nu descendant un escalier n° 2

Cubist-Futurist Modernist classic

can’t take my eyes off

that stroboscopic-, stop-

motion photography

those curves and lines

browns and ochres. Can this simply be

a dissection

of movement, human like a machine?

Faceless, emotionless

someone, teach me

how not to feel

give me a new word

for fucked-up hurting

instead of “broken”

there is a certain strength

in getting out of bed.

Can’t walk

down a staircase right,

watch these Iron Man legs

and shapely thighs,

curvaceous ass like 3-D disks—

I trip over stairs that aren’t there.

I’ve been told to stay away from

empty calories,

feminist arguments,

to keep my clothes on,

I drink my coffee black.

Marcel Duchamp,

where is a cause I can believe in?

Do away with art, with it all—

Marcel, give me something I can piss on.

Yana Lyandres is a student studying French and English as well as minoring in Creative Writing at New York University and plans to teach high school when she graduates.

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