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

Susan Marie Powers

Red Bird

Snow swells over fence posts,

drapes pine branches and softens

the edge of an ax

propped against a stump.

Once a plane crash survivor,

arms folded, quietly told me

how the engine died, the soft screams grew,

and cups flew amid staccato cries of “no.”

Then the memory falls away

and a cardinal, red as blood,

beats wings against the snow,

lands on the stump.

I close my eyes but the rays

come through my closed lids.

Red wings sparkle in the sun.

I remember my old dog dying in my arms,

unable to walk, folded legs limp in my lap.

The needle glistened as the vet’s eyes watered,

I held my dog, stroked the warm ear.

Snow softens all it touches.

Numbing, hiding, icing over

the way I loved a man long ago.

Now days go by without thoughts of him,

yet shadows chase me when I see another man

with his hands: clean and strong.

I have felt life tingle inside me,

and then it bled away.

I cried, unable to stop the loss

of someone who never was.

The cardinal launches into the air,

his red heat burns brightly.

The survivor found herself

holding hands with strangers.

Everybody aboard touched:

lovers, strangers, children.

Eyes closed, fingers entwined,

ending life as they had begun it:

absorbing the warmth of another.

The red bird darts looking

for what it wants.

I stand in the snow while somewhere

smoking fragments burn my feet,

feathers touch me, wings graze me.

I wait for the blade

to cut me;

I wait to fall

into space.


Every moored boat tugs at its tether,

small waves disappear into larger ones.

The dock reaches out, but can’t cross the sea.

I stand on the shore and squint at impossible distance.

When I was a girl of fifteen,

I tied our small sailboat to the dock.

The boat’s bright yellow reflected in the water,

The rope was too short to secure

both ends, so I left it:

tethered at one end, loose at the other

The next morning, I arose to sun on my ceiling,

a pattern of light, bouncing off the water

beneath my bedroom window—squiggles and whorls

played off the painted surface

like soundless music.

Easy, the golden day ahead,

I walked outside where I found

the boat battered into splintered boards.

A nighttime storm had set it into motion

so it cracked itself in two.

Now I watch boats calm and controlled,

and wonder about a rhythm so violent

my very structure would come undone,

shaking apart everything put so carefully into place,

the wildness more powerful than the bond,

the waves overwhelming the vessel.

Can I go back in time to my fifteen-year-old self?

Secure the boat to resist the storm?

Defy waves struggling to undo knots?

Or do knots come undone

as time nimbly unties us from what we love?

Now, with decades behind me,

I send a benediction to that sleeping girl,

who cannot foresee what the night will bring.

Happy Buddha

A stone Buddha in Provincetown

squats among singing lilies and gladioli.

Their summer voices blare orange pastels

in loud speaker fashion.

Buddha, how do you resist the urge

to swing your plump hips to this sunny blast of colors?

Surely, you must rise from that lotus position

and belly dance among the cone flowers:

your lovely round tummy smoothly

undulating in the afternoon sun.

The roses twining the fence

beg you for a kiss.

Maybe a tango would do as you pull their

vines hither and yon.

And before you foxtrot back to your spot,

take me in your arms for a sexy waltz.

Look deeply into my eyes,

and I will sigh as you

pirouette into place,

already missing your strong arms.

Susan Marie PowersI live in the Connecticut woods with my husband, son, cat, dog, and ten chickens. I have a doctorate in psychology and teach psychology at Woodstock Academy in northeastern Connecticut where my students make me smile every day. As for writing, I have loved writing since I was a small child. I have a chapbook titled Break the Spell, and I have also published some nonfiction articles in psychology journals.

Dotted Line