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

Writer's Site

Susanna Kittredge

Four Theories About My Ovaries

I. Deaf

Dear ovaries, can you hear me? For weeks

my pituitary has been screaming hormone

louder and louder, and still you don’t

respond. I imagine you

twiddling your proverbial thumbs

as you wait patiently for instructions that never

seem to come. You’re just starting to wonder

if you should look for other work.

II. Temperamental

I should have known that they would be

fussy artists like myself. In adolescence,

they were daring, releasing one egg after another

to an admiring reproductive system.

But as they’ve aged, the self-doubt,

the perfectionism have set in.

They are embarrassed by their haphazard

early work. Anxious that the eggs

they make will be ridiculous, they lie still

praying for precise inspiration to create

the perfect ovum.

III. Retired

Susanna, lookit—we’re pooped. We’ve been doing

this gig since you were, what, fourteen? Every

month: *pop* *pop*! We’re over it! We consider

our fortune made, like young tech entrepreneurs.

From now on, you’ll find us kicked back on the banks

of Fallopia, sipping luteinizing cocktails, rubbing balm

into our achy follicles.

IV. More

My ovaries are not craftsmen, not businessmen

or drones. They are not even poets.

But don’t call them failure or vestige.

Call them monks, eating from begging bowls

of artificial estrogen. Call them a pair of Pisces,

afloat in my abdomen, forever dreaming.


There are conflicting stories of her origin.

She was born a scaly, serpent-headed monster,

or she started as a lovely maid.

She was virtuous or vain,

raped or wanton with the god Poseidon.

We know for sure that Athena took her severed head,

her frozen cry of fury and still-writhing snakes,

and mounted it on her shield to augment her own divine power,

a flat-handed thump to her war chest.

I look at the forked tongues of my hair’s split ends,

the dull smudge of mascara below my eyes

and speckle of toothpaste on my shirt.

What a weakling I am, never daring to be truly hideous;

smiling sweetly and dangling silver from my ears

lest I should turn a man to stone.


You’ve got that stab-eyed sweetness, apologizing

for some tiny thing. I know what it’s like to see black birds

between us and to want to turn them into smoke.

We’ll both be lonely this snowstorm—you with the sad

Vaudeville of your roommates; me with an empty house

and an internet I.V.

It’s better this way, because: look at me—

I’m writing again! And you—you’ve got your feelers

feeling in a new direction.

You didn’t need to apologize—I wasn’t angry;

I was only teasing you for being a tree

with so many daring branches

and so many stubborn roots.

My Heart

is a slowly dripping popsicle

visited only by half-starved hummingbirds

and nervous brown butterflies.

My heart is a traffic island, terrified

by the honking cars around it;

too stunned to comfort the wild-eyed pedestrians

stranded on its surface.

My heart is the cat that entertains a caress

until startled by its own pulse

into biting the hand and bolting

under the bed.

My heart is an empty notebook,

naked of ink, flipping closed

against the poet’s ravishing gaze.

Susanna Kittredge’s poems have appeared in publications such as 14 Hills, The Columbia Review and Salamander as well as the anthologies Bay Poetics (Faux Press, 2006) and Shadowed: Unheard Voices (The Press at California State University, Fresno 2014). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She lives in Boston where she is a member of The Jamaica Pond Poets and the Brighton Word Factory. By day she teaches middle school.

Dotted Line