Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2014    fiction    all issues


Debbra Palmer
Bake Sale
& other poems

Ann V. DeVilbiss
Far Away, Like a Mirror
& other poems

Michael Fleming
On the Bus
& other poems

Harold Schumacher
Dying To Say It
& other poems

Heather Erin Herbert
Georgia’s Advent
& other poems

Sharron Singleton
Sonnet for Small Rip-Rap
& other poems

Bryce Emley
College Beer
& other poems

Harry Bauld
On a Napkin
& other poems

George Mathon
Do You See Me Waving?
& other poems

Mariana Weisler
Soft Soap and Wishful Thinking
& other poems

Michael Kramer
Nighthawks, Kaua’i
& other poems

Jill Murphy
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn
& other poems

Kendall Grant
Winter Love Note
& other poems

Donna French McArdle
White Blossoms at Night
& other poems

Tom Freeman
On Foot, Joliet, Illinois
& other poems

George Longenecker
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
The Bitter Daughter
& other poems

Rebecca Irene
& other poems

Savannah Grant
And Not As Shame
& other poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Titian Left No Paper Trail
& other poems

Martin Conte
We’re Not There
& other poems

A. Sgroi
Sore Soles
& other poems

Miguel Coronado
& other poems

Franklin Zawacki
Experience Before Memory
& other poems

Tracy Pitts
& other poems

Rachel A. Girty
& other poems

Ryan Flores
Language Without Lies
& other poems

Margie Curcio
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
Painted Chickens
& other poems

Nicholas Petrone
Running Out of Space
& other poems

Danielle C. Robinson
A Taste of Family Business
& other poems

Meghan Kemp-Gee
A Rhyme Scheme
& other poems

Tania Brown
On Weeknights
& other poems

James Ph. Kotsybar
& other poems

Matthew Scampoli
Paddle Ball
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Not Exactly
& other poems

Writer's Site

Tania Brown

On Weeknights

On weeknights, she

painstakingly applies lipstick, a

paint-the-numbers exercise where she

does her best to

stay in the lines and

not stain her teeth with

tell-tale red; she

steadies her hand as

the mascara wand,

a fairy godmother in a tube,

plumps and

makes appear

what wasn’t there before.

She squeezes her feet into heels and

wobbles like a bell

chiming the appropriate hour in

her knee length skirt.

“Let’s go for a walk,”

she tells the dog, who

plays his part well by

always being ready at the door.

She strolls down the street,

summoning her best impersonation of

someone put together,

not falling apart

at the seams.

On weekends, she

stays home in his old clothes, her

knees peeking through

holes worn by time, and

watches movies,

lips whispering lines that

remind her of him, as

the dog waits for

another weeknight.

Slice of Life


a slice of life extracted,

permafrost edging in,

tainting the feigned perfection

of a memory

carefully preserved in microscopic detail

to show what he wanted

and not what was.

Burn Me Clean

I poke at the bloody hole,

ragged edges stinging,

feel around the space where you were—

the way you filled me up and

still left me wanting,

the way you ripped me open so

I could never be whole again.

It’s funny now—

in that soul-crushing way which is

never actually funny but

we say “funny” because

who really wants to think about

the pain we’re obscuring—

funny how

you were a security blanket, a

safe haven for my worried heart,

for my mind that never stopped

firing on all cylinders,

until it did, and

now it just fires on one:


Funny how you were,

then in one decisive moment,

you decided you weren’t, and

who was I to say that

you’d gotten it wrong?

That you’d always be,

even when you were no longer.

You were

your favorite shirt,

the one I’ll never return,

because dammit,

it looks good on me, and

every time I wear it

I catch that sweet scent and

my head is filled with you,

buttoned up in the softest flannel as

you lift another box

higher than I can reach,

always willing to do those little things that

made my life easier,

until you weren’t.

I’m not sure how so much of you

fit in that hole,

how I packed away

even the tiniest pieces—

your smirk, the crinkle of your eye,

your general nonchalance,

your affinity towards devil’s advocacy—but

unpacking it has been even harder.

I light the match,

my flicker of hope,

press it to the flesh,

cauterize and sear,

burn myself clean so

I can move forward without you.


The way we danced—

leaves on a breeze,

a whirlwind of autumn,

taken by the song

only we could hear—

failed to wake the dead,

and they remained

beneath our feet,

tucked safely

in their graves.

I Am

I am my mother when,

exhausted at the end of the night,

I scrub with all my might to

scrape the dredges of the evening meal from

the bottom of the flame-licked pot,

unable to sleep while

it sits in the sink.

I am my father when,

wishing to be alone with a

book and a candle at a dinner party,

I manage to spin tales of

past exploits

that paint a different picture than

the one in my mind.

I am myself when,

eyes closed,

sitting on the couch, I

contemplate the things I

like and dislike about

the person I’ve become and

weigh them against the

notion of the person I’d

like to be and

the person I once was,

wondering why the tally

never seems to come out quite right.

Tania Brown is a poet who enjoys focusing on the depth and shallowness of the human landscape. She’s worked as a social worker, retail manager, and freelance editor, all while soaking in the rich, urban experiences of Philadelphia. Tania aspires to be a renaissance woman and hopes that ingesting enough books will get her there. In her free time, she enjoys snapping slices of life and nature in pictures, knitting, and watching Doctor Who.

Dotted Line