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

Richard Sime

Berry Eater

He wears a belt around each leg crotch-high,

red hardhat, aviator glasses, chain saw on his hip

as he leaps from branch to branch, lightly

alighting from time to time to adjust his ropes,

when he’ll grab a handful of those berries.

Mulberries—we’ve spent too many summers

slogging through the purple paste that coats

the stone stairs and iron railings of our

Villa Charlotte Bronte, a confection

of buildings linked by walkways and arched

bridges along the Bronx bank of the Hudson.

The berries come from trees, large trees that

grow like weeds, raining sidewalks with fruit

from June until September, but even so

I’ve never tasted so much as one berry.

“Are they all that good?” my neighbor

hollers up to the man as his agitated

husband, who’d just as soon have the tree

cut down, pokes his head out then disappears.

The man pops another berry in his mouth

while he scans the tree for more ripe limbs

to hack off and send crashing to the ground.

Wiping juice from his mouth with the broad

back of his sun-stained hand, he yells down,

“They’re the sweetest when you’re on top, man,”

then pins another victim in his thighs, and saws.


His ear is pressed to his Muse’s

breast, but she coughs up nothing—

a few yelps of love from a dog

(his dog, female, a bitch they’d say,

yet gentle), love based on scraps

from the table, a dry place

to sleep, someone to untangle

burrs from her coat, to sit still

as she tongues toes, nose, any limb

unclothed—all just dog data, no

heart. To his Muse he says “Leave,”

then glances down: The dog sits

at his feet, marmoreal, front legs

stiff, back legs askew, belly bare

and hot, just as he remembers.

A full hour he stares. Not one

muscle moves. No, he won’t write.

Opera Night

They’re all like that: Ruse, mystery

morals. I came to, pieces of it still

in mind, Così something or other,

but the rest—the front, the exterior,

the unflappable—they’re all here.

I’d say, Il faut renoncer chaque syllabe

if I spoke French. Why not Prussian?

Why not sub-American? Whatever,

evasion is essence. Nothing matters.

Everything’s inconsequential, but . . .

All in its place. Your underwear’s

in the laundry room. The ensembles

are breezy and serene. An affectation?

Mediterranean deceit? Turn rightside

out before dying. Lower the boom.

Dog Day

My bed a raft. She’s on it with me and her lamb,

black ears, dead squeaker. I’m resting my

fatigue. Damaged joints, inflammatory.

Used to be, I’d hang off to the floor, her lair

when she was underneath, anchor myself

with one hand, scratch her belly with the other.

Now I grab the lamb and launch it

across the room, out the door,

though she’ll return it. Such gentle jaws.

The bed’s head is elevated, two bricks

prone, a plank across, head

over heels: For my hiatal hernia, when too much

food is stuck inside. Today I’m full

of words, my friend’s words, her folk voice.

“Feelings, bind,” she writes. A wish,

a prayer, an invocation. Her words draw my thoughts

to the floor, the tilt of bed, the smell of stain

and wood down there, the cool, the cheerful shine.

It’s been hot. Close, we used to say,

my room a stale, unventilated

sigh. Even the living room, double-height,

banks of windows on the Hudson.

Down there I saw a dog, my neighbor’s

red and white Brittany, focused, focused

on his ball, panting, pacing, tongue lolling off his teeth

to the ground. She rose and limped to him,

lofted the ball again toward the river.

Mine’s female. (Ah, these females.)

Once she crawled into my lap when I was filled with

I don’t know what. Satan? She there

on my lap with this fury inside. We sat still,

the two of us, a kind of draining. Now her chin rests

on the lamb’s white chest. Only the squeaker’s

dead: The lamb’s alive. Five summers in her jaws,

the quiet chewing, peaceful

and delicate, a song.

A native of North Dakota, Richard Sime moved to New York City in 1966 to work on a doctorate degree but soon drifted into publishing. He returned to school later, earning an MFA in fiction writing in 1994. Eventually he turned his attention to poetry, and his poems have appeared in The New Republic, Barrow Street, Salamander, American Arts Quarterly, Provincetown Arts, and Passager. He lives in the Bronx, NY.

Dotted Line