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

Bruce Taylor

Men Fishing with Wives

Who runs the motor who steers the boat

knows what’s biting on what and where

who handles the anchor who ships the oars

who’s too quiet or never quiet enough?

Who wears the silly hat who forgot the beer

or the bait or sunscreen or bug spray

who remembers what the other forgets

who is always right at least half the time?

Who wants to catch the big one, who doesn’t

care if they ever catch anything at all?

Over the years they’ve learned things

upon which they’ve learned to agree.

Never let the fish get in the way of fishing.

Never let the holes in your net get bigger

than the fish you hope to catch.

Be patient. Keep your bait in the water.

Handsome Man in a Fancy Boat

His outfits, all Eddie Bauer,

top of the line, his gear I’d guess

the latest and best, his beard coiffed

and silvered, his eyes, barbed and grey.

Mostly it’s old farts in bucket hats,

your usual worm and bobber crowd,

or the occasional husband and wife,

one ships the oars, one sets the anchor

or a kid in a canoe, toking a joint

or three shirtless buddies cursing

in a pontoon too big for this lake,

or a couple in kayaks with cameras.

He’s here almost everyday day to fish

these shallows, weed-choked, pocked

by algae, all dragonflies and stunted

sunnies he tosses back barely hooked

and the undersized bass he stoops

to release without even checking.

But mostly he catches nothing.

Mostly we all almost always do.

Learn Ice Fishing at Home

Lately I’ve been trying since

it goes on right outside my window

sometimes so close to our bedroom

the sound of the auger wakes us,

you can tell how deep the ice is

by how long they have to drill.

They set their tip-ups and sit

on buckets and smoke and stare

down into the unseeable dark.

Nothing left to do now but wait.

I breakfast in my sunny kitchen,

the coffee bold, the toast golden.

There are lessons to be learned.

So far I haven’t learned them all.

I know why they sit alone but

where in the ice to drill the hole,

how deep into the dark you have to go,

how long is how long it is to wait?

Always Expect a Train

says the new sign at the tracks near my house

I’ve crossed three or four times a day for years

on my way to wherever to get whatever

I need or want or think I have to have

but I’ve never seen one coming or going

nor even, as I’ve imagined, been stuck there

watching car after car rumble by full of whatever

going wherever or rumbling empty back.

I’ve not even seen a speck of one at a distance,

future engine speeding my way or red caboose

at last trailing away, vanishing into the past.

But some nights when the stutter in my heart

wakes me before dawn, or one of my old regrets

sits on the edge of the bed smoking and sighs,

the moan of a not so distant whistle haunts me

and rumbles in the dark I always am expecting.

Tracking in Snow

Most mornings we know

the tracks outside our door,

bunny and Bambi, Rocky

the raccoon we recognize

even without his mask.

Sometimes we can’t and don’t.

Something feline the books say

though we’ve never seen a cat.

Something canine but dogs don’t

run loose this time of year.

Once from our shore somebody

stepped off, walked straight

across the frozen lake

alone, in the dark, in the cold,

at least as far as we can see.

Fresh snow covers everything,

scratch of squirrel or crow,

even our own familiar trails

which took us somewhere and

brought us, this time, back.

Bruce Taylor is the author of eight collections of poetry which has appeared in such places as Able Muse, The Chicago Review, The Cortland Review, The Nation, The New York Quarterly, Poetry, Rattle, and on the Writer’s Almanac. He is the recipient of awards from Fulbright-Hayes, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bush Artist Foundation. He lives in Lake Hallie, Wisconsin with his wife, the writer, Patti See.

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