Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2016    fiction    all issues



Cover Carly Larsson

Sarah Sansolo
Bedtime Stories
& other poems

Miranda Cowley Heller
Things the Tide Has Discarded
& other poems

Alexa Poteet
Escobar's Hacienda Napoles
& other poems

Cynthia Robinson Young
Triple Dare
& other poems

Nicole Lachat
Of Infidelities
& other poems

Amy Nawrocki
Bad Girls
& other poems

Lawrence Hayes
Winter Climb
& other poems

AJ Powell
God the Baker
& other poems

Gisle Skeie
& other poems

Bruce Taylor
Always Expect a Train
& other poems

Ricky Ray
They Used to Be Things
& other poems

S. E. Ingraham
Storm Angels
& other poems

Laura Gamache
& other poems

Keighan Speer
It Rained Today
& other poems

Emma Atkinson
Grocery Stores Make Me Feel Mentally Ill
& other poems

Erin Lehrmann
& other poems

D. H. Turtel
Margaret, Again
& other poems

Chris Haug
Bovine Paranoia
& other poems

Kimberly M. Russo
Definitive Definition
& other poems

Holly Walrath
A Tourist of Sorts
& other poems

Angel C. Dye
Beauty in Her Marrow
& other poems

Writer's Site

Ricky Ray


The rabbit parts, taken out of the context of the rabbit,

will sit on the counter in their juices, hinting at stew,

and they will look good and hale and nutritious to him,

and they will look like awful, bloody murder to her.

And the differences will hang between them,

not as something to be fought over,

but as something there and real and true.

Something that binds if it does not break apart,

for they will not resolve their differences;

the resolution will come in the way

their differences lie up against one another in the night.

They Used to Be Things

In the book were pages

and on the pages was ink

and in the ink were words

that were once ideas

we made of things, like

wool is made of a goat

and a sweater is made

of wool, warmth

is made of wool’s

trappings and favorite

is made of our time

in the warmth.

The story goes

that the ideas

went away and formed

their own tribe. Then,

they forgot to come back

and visit; they forgot

the way home. Over time,

they even forgot

where they came from,

and the more distant

the words grew

from their origin,

the more the words

tried to become things

themselves. But words

are not even the pale

shimmerings on

the butterfly’s wings,

let alone the thin


flapping itself up.

When the wolfwind howls

and the ground

whispers crystals of ice,

if I wrap my feet

in ideas—lots and lots

of them—they still freeze.

Even newspaper tucked

into old brown boots

leaves them stiff

and shivering

through the night.

But then I chant

my confessions

to the moon,

and the rendezvous

of word and blood

lights ten little

fires in my toes.

Songs Early and Late


On earth there was

a voice that sang:

we are on the earth

and we are

the earth


standing up,

in the world

and of it,



the world’s of,



Oh, earth, as we in our flailing

snag each strand of species

and pull until it comes

out of your head by the root—

as we stopper and scar the follicles—

as we make of your forest

a farm fit for the mills

but not for the panthers,

is it true that you become

less beautiful?

Life After Electricity?

On the beach, another species,

half human or something like it,

periodically watches the sun go down.

They don’t gather every night.

When they do, after sunset, they empty

what they have seen into the sand.

It accepts everything that bothers them.

Leaves them turning to one another

as if wrongs were pains of growth.

They have learned to wash in saltwater

and see clearly. They have learned

to walk home by the moon.

One of their young has a flashlight

buried where he sleeps. He dreams

of power. He is afraid to use it.

Late Night Possibilities


You could close your eyes,

your neck dripping with sweat

in the late September heat.


You could begin to dream

of going somewhere,


of horns and flashing lights

trying to guide you

safely toward your destination.


You could waver between

the dream state and waking state

where sparks shower your face

from the side of the car

shearing the guard rail,

the guard rail shearing the car.


Your foot could become

heavy with sleep

and your hands could fall

away from the wheel

and your body could plow

into the night

with no concern

for laws or lanes

or the deer trying to herd her young

safely to the other side.


You could be seduced

by 75 mph winds

whistling something dangerous in your ear

and you could reach for the wheel

like the belly of a lover who’s leaving you too soon

and you could pull her back to you

only to spin around three times

and flip over twice—

earth-sky, earth-sky.


You could wake your friend

in the passenger seat

to tell him what happened.


You could pull your other friend

from the screaming hole

in the broken back window

with blood

and glass in flesh

and no one to blame but yourself

for listening to your mind

when it said it’s time

you’re tired

let’s go.

Ricky Ray was born in Florida and educated at Columbia University. His recent work can be found in Fugue, Esque, Sixfold, and Chorus: A Literary Mixtape. His awards include the Ron McFarland Poetry Prize, a Whisper River Poetry Prize, and Katexic’s Cormac McCarthy prize. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, three cats and a dog. The bed is frequently overcrowded.

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