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

Kathryn Merwin



A girl storms out of her body to sing you the highway: your

skin is calligraphy and ink. Back turned, soap and seawater

leather her palms.


The tide batters your knees: blood-puckers of coast, blue

bruises dusted over telescope skin. Nothing was ever more

worth it.


Your words are gloved in oyster silk, the low bass tones of

twilight. You probably wouldn’t know me now. I bite my

tongue, my teeth taste like cough-syrup.


I was thinking of silver needles, tire-tracks in a sliver of

moonlight. Route 13, the wooden house by the hospital,

white bridge and fuck you, carved in the rail.


The sharp bones of oak trees keep you safe somewhere

in Jersey. The aria lifts: your eyes, blackened sea pearls,

whisper, don’t you lie to me.


Up north, a blue wind lifts the hair from your shoulders. You

will wade through your bogs, fill your terrariums, slowly

become fluent in the flutter of seabird wings.

The Yellow Marrow

I could have loved the wolf. Alone he was a fist of night sky,

body of starlings, hydrogen, helium. I held a flashlight

to his chest, traced the glowing web of his arteries to prove that something moved

within him. He buried small things in in the storm gulch: elk’s teeth, brass keys, warped

violin strings. Sharp teeth dug craters into my throat. Now I’ve made you the moon. I could have

loved the wolf, but I wanted to be hunter. Wanted teeth, blood, bone. I wanted the yellow



I wish to cry. Yet, I laugh,

and my lipstick leaves a red stain like a bloody crescent

moon on the top of the beer can.

—Sylvia Plath

My skin is a sheet of Braille: moon-hungry,

shiver by the widening current, curling

into pale shins, bewitching me further

into its darkening plane. The moon, hanging

like a ball over the western seaboard,

annihilating, with every glance. I am

the girl who does not dance: your

eyes catch the light, your teeth catch

my hair. Night

is temporary insanity: barefoot girls

with tambourines, purple lights

in Santa Monica.

For Aaron, Disenchanted

Something once soft hums in you

while you sleep. I watch it lift

through you as you thrash,

flail. The bright tangerine

of your heart comes apart

in slices. I find them hidden

in your pillowcase. Mama’s eyes

are the color of your absence

now. A little more grey

than gunpowder. You

never pressed your ear to my lung. Never

tangled my synapses into sailing knots. Never

folded my body like an origami swan, passed

your secrets up through my throat. You are not mine

but you always were. The forgetting-boy

lives in a hollow of atlases. The birds

knew his name before I did. Knew the geometry

of our loneliness, our rabbit-hole

in the evergreens. Our blue jazz at midnight.

Something ached between us, but there was nothing

to hold but our compasses, the unlocked gun-cabinet

in the cellar, the yellowed globe

in the bedroom, spinning darkly.

Kathryn Merwin is a native of Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Natural Bridge, Blackbird, and Sugar House Review, among others. She has been awarded the Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize for Poetry, the Blue Earth Review Annual Poetry Prize, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Western Washington University.

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