Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2017    fiction    all issues


Cover Marija Zaric

Kathryn Merwin
For Aaron, Disenchanted
& other poems

William Stevens
Celestial Bodies
& other poems

Kendra Poole
Take-Off, or The Philosophy of Leaving
& other poems

AJ Powell
Mama Atlas
& other poems

Matt Farrell
Waves in the dark
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
Eating a Horsemeat Sandwich at Astana Airport 
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
& other poems

Joshua Levy
Venezuela Evening
& other poems

Ryan Lawrence
Vegan Teen Daughter vs. Worthless Dad
& other poems

George Longenecker
Yard Sale
& other poems

Susanna Kittredge
My Heart
& other poems

Morgan Gilson
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
The Annihilation of Bees
& other poems

Taylor Bell
Browsing Tinder in an Aldi
& other poems

David Anderson
Continental Rift
& other poems

Charles McGregor
The Boys That Don’t Know
& other poems

Cameron Scott
Ashes to Smashes, Dust to Rust
& other poems

Kenneth Homer
Inferno Redux
& other poems

Alice Ashe
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
Marriage's Weekly Schedule
& other poems

Kim Alfred
Soul Eclipse
& other poems

Matt Farrell

New Year’s Eve: Sitting on a lawn chair in my front yard in Dillon Beach, California

Down on the beach

shadows of families

huddle around exploding fireworks.

I am far above them.

My house is black,

made bigger by the darkness,

smaller by the wind

that slurps up the last of the white paint.

Next week, the new owners move in.

Fireworks pop and scream

as if the beach is being bombarded.

Ships materialize in the fog.

Waves grow and open their mouths.

Ice plant sucks the soil dry

and takes the hill.

Is it too much to ask that
everyone gets a turn?

The piñata,

beaten to death,

bleeds candy on the lawn.

It was once a giraffe—

neck so thin

it broke on the first swing,

the fatal blow delivered by a boy

no one wanted

to invite.

Living room

The old man had made clear plans for his death.

He was not buried in the family plot.

Nor was he cremated.

His ashes were not scattered

on the lupine-covered hill by the ocean

where he had first kissed his wife,

wind carrying the smell of driftwood and dead fish,

twisting her hair around both of their heads.

Instead, the local butcher cut the meat from his bones,

and a ninth-grade biology teacher

glued him together into a standing skeleton,

just like the plastic model the teacher displayed in his classroom.

The old man’s daughter placed his skeleton in her living room,

an elbow resting on the grand piano, as specified,

so he could still greet the neighbor’s cat when she pawed at the door

and get to know his grandchildren better.

Waves in the dark

I’m alone on the king-sized bed

of this hotel room that smells

like a hotel room.

The ceiling groans

with the weight of others,

gently cracking like the ribs

of a seasoned wooden ship

soon to be retired.

My uncle was a merchant marine in the Mediterranean.

In the worst storms

he had to tie himself to his bunk at night,

waves knocking at the porthole,

superstitions of old sailors warning

that the moans of the boards

were actually the creaking bones

of the dead

tightening the ropes.

Willamette River, past midnight

Light from a faraway houseboat

reflects off the water

like a gap between curtains.

I turn my body sideways

and slip through.

Matt Farrell I grew up in Sacramento and currently live with my wife in Portland, Oregon. I received a BA in Film & Media Studies from Stanford and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon. I now attend medical school at Oregon Health & Science University, doing my best to write between rotations. My fiction and poetry have been published in Switchback, Arcadia, & Potomac Review.

Dotted Line