Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2013    fiction    all issues


Alysse Kathleen McCanna
& other poems

Peter Nash
Shooting Star
& other poems

Katherine Smith
House of Cards
& other poems

David Sloan
On the Rocks
& other poems

Alexandra Smyth
Exoskeleton Blues
& other poems

John Glowney
The Bus Stop Outside Ajax Bail Bonds
& other poems

Andrea Jurjević O’Rourke
It Was a Large Wardrobe...
& other poems

Lisa DeSiro
Babel Tree
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Michael Berkowitz
As regards the tattoo on your wrist
& other poems

Michael Brokos
Landscape without Rest
& other poems

Michael H. Lythgoe
Orpheus In Asheville
& other poems

John Wentworth
morning people
& other poems

Christopher Jelley
Double Exposure
& other poems

Catherine Dierker
dinner party
& other poems

William Doreski
Hate the Sinner, Not the Sin
& other poems

Robert Barasch
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Red Bird
& other poems

Anne Graue
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Tub Restoration
& other poems

Paul R. Davis
& other poems

Philip Jackey
Garage drinking after 1989
& other poems

Karen Hoy
A Naturalist in New York
& other poems

Gary Sokolow
Underworld Goddess
& other poems

Michal Mechlovitz
The Early
& other poems

Henry Graziano
Last Apple
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
& other poems

Roger Desy
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

Frederick L. Shiels
Driving Past the Oliver House
& other poems

Richard Sime
Berry Eater
& other poems

Jennifer Popoli
Generations in a wine dark sea
& other poems

Jennifer Popoli

Generations in a wine dark sea

Instead of fresh herbs, what I rub on my skin now

is nettles, I cry out and delight in the dramatic effect

The adolescent is standing before me, is not me,

his eyelashes pretty now he leaves them alone,

He’s moved on to finger cracking. He ought to understand,

the age is right, is it not? to say to him, let’s talk now

about travelling cumulous clouds, moon riding day sky,

hair falling in dust, cats brushing legs like foliage,

tropical night breeze, whirling, spinning maple seeds,

crunchy autumn leaves and one small lone blue feather, reappearing

in unpredictable places, pressed between the pages of books like forgotten

euros, Let’s talk about damp yellow grass recently nourished, slumber, lotus-

eaters and opiates, acres of coconut trees, Let’s talk about eyes sharp as a puma’s

and moving limbs more precise in the darkness, a lifted curse, a shattering vase,

a slice of papaya, a still dark brown face, flapping through a sanctimonious night

and memories of many lives, let’s talk about dirty quartz and the smell of

seashells while washing hair, flecked eyes that sparkled with a spice like

pimento, lips wet with fruit, the scythe that hacked the clouds into streaks of

plasma, the plotless story, the sequential paintings, your ticking hand that ruled

time and weather, the world splitting into a series of images, all times and

possibilities, in one unique frame, the ruffling of hair and heart possession that

echoes across the aeons.

Lost fairy

They poisoned the Argentinian trumpet vine

because it got too comfortable, sprouted everywhere

like a weed, and replaced it with some other flowering vine

more white and well-mannered. I suspected them of racism

but it was their house. When I moved here, the flowers seemed

to be in my face like the advertising, although the convolvulus always

tended to remind me of Borges. No more discreet kangaroo paws, subtle

Geraldton wax, bedraggled wattle. Here the bedraggled wattle is me, amongst

those other belles, the saucy snapdragons, self-sufficient succulents, ubiquitous

petunias, spicy nasturtiums, whose population seems to dwindle in every suburb

where we live, along with the European dandelions, washed of residual herbicides and thrown in our soups. We are foragers, tribespeople

with little ones strapped to my front and my back, a stolen cumquat

or rosemary leaf perpetually between my teeth. How did dente di leone

translate to dandelion? The plant has teeth, it’s rough, roughage.

I slurp the nectars, check the parallel lines on the leaves before

chewing native sarsaparilla, tear my sandalled feet to ribbons

in the sparse strips of bush between train stations, teach the kids

to hoist themselves over a tall rock. We run away here when we can’t stand

being at home. I pretend for a moment that I haven’t been domesticated,

pretend for one afternoon, I still have big, purple, feathery wings.

Other lives

A staircase leading to a new continent

The smell of a man’s body, never known

but so vividly imagined

Practising the words “I love you”

It’s been some time since they were said in English

It’s been some time since they were meant.

A child told to count windmills on her way to boarding school

A child about to be abandoned

Windmills and hair, windmills blowing hair

Watermelon carved and eaten

with plastic spoons because knives are forbidden

A paedophile uncle and a new pink A-cup bra

Raindrops on car windows

Imprisoned in a car

A game that gives identities and voices to each raindrop

Clusters of raindrops that join and separate

Massive drops that steamroll diagonally

separating families, drawing baby raindrops from their mummies

How they cried!

I can still hear their distraught voices


There comes a time when you can look a man in the face

While he’s doing something else, and instead of being

dazzled, by his phenomenal good looks…

nothing. You can live without him.

His track pants are too daggy

his toenails too long

his ears too greasy

his nose too bulbous

his penis too crooked

his glasses too big

It’s those glasses and the way

he looks fixedly at the computer screen

It’s the way men relate better to computers than women

It’s their onanism (which is just a fancy word for masturbation)

which yes we all do, of course, but for me it’s about sailing higher, higher

above apricot coloured clouds. For them it’s about believing women exist only for them. Oh! Let me withdraw further, further into my inner worlds…

Let me see all colours behind my eyelids, especially bright green

Let me be a retreating dot in an enormous swimming

universe. Let me be cradled, floating in space.

Sustain me now. Sustain me now.


Cinderella is on the stairs in a flurry. My story

hasn’t been written yet. Nothing resolves.

Scientist are on the verge of a breakthrough

that may save us by destroying another world.

Metal drums full of fire. A dispersion of men in overalls

leaping for joy when they find the key, scissor kicks in the sky.

A knowing god looks down upon our treetops and sighs.

The time is now, it’s running out, ça ira, ça ira,

I tingle. Nerves twinge. Something terrible may still happen.

My breasts are being milked for yet another hour

and I shiver endlessly in a feverish infected delirium.

Boys cavort and ignore me. They’re used to this.

Downstairs you grizzle and mutter in your usual way.

Something smashes in a doorway. More curses.

Flat on the bed, making a leap fifteen years back in time

I am left with an upturned palm full of sperm and a decision to make.

Jennifer Popoli I grew up in Canberra and during adolescence wrote a lot of poetry, prose and unfinished novels and participated in the local writers community. At age seventeen, I met my husband and moved to Sydney. I gave birth to my first son at age eighteen and went on to have five children, then recommenced my degree in Spanish and Italian. Recently, my computer broke; I lost everything. This inspired me to begin writing prolifically again.

Dotted Line