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

Tom Freeman

On Foot, Joliet, Illinois

A girl heading the other way

stopped around 2 o’clock today,

rolled down her window, “Hey man, have a peach!”

It filled my fist. I recrossed the road pressing

my thumb into the fuzzy skin, just overripe.

My eyes moistened for a second.

Not yet hungry, I tucked away

the strange girl’s gift.

A juicy ball of sun medicine,

my soft secret hope.

Hidden peach in the pocket

of this rough, frayed work coat I wear.

At Sunset

Orange glow in the western sky,

rain has stopped,

dust plastered down along the dirt road

hedged with pungent wet sagebrush.

Passionate electrified guitar

wails from within adobe walls

of a small home at the base of a scrubby hill.

Out in the dusky road a lonely young man passing by

listens, smiles, says “thanks” under his breath.


After pulling mean musk thistles all morning,

sweating torrents in a rain coat and welder’s gloves,

I spread peanut butter with a skinning knife,

seated in the driver’s seat of my rusty pickup

parked in the pasture up to the side mirror in shining grass.

The cows browse, sun glaring

on the black muscles of their backs,

and test the new fence line.

The young calf ducks right under.

Sun spots and shade play in the field

as clouds shift shapes and float east.

The insect trill heightens with each flash of heat.

I want to learn to see the wind in the grass as a girl I love

and she as the grass in the wind.

I think that’d be my heaven.

Keep the rest.

I lick both sides

of the knife edge clean.

Thirty more minutes

lost track of and it’s

back to work.

Moon Chat Transcript #10

I get up too late, sit in soft moss,

and wait for some rustle

in the leaves to wake me.

No wind. Not even a breeze.

Past girls I might have tried harder for,

friends I lost track of, come to mind.

I wonder what screens me often from

that straight shot look into

the real skin of things.

Down ravine, the creek glints, out of earshot.

The word is another body turned up in the Cuyahoga valley.

Two kayaking ranger’s found her in the river north of Boston Mills.

She’d been missing ten days.

She’s not the first.

Men tend to dump them just off the trail

where they think no one will look.

I imagine, in their guilt, those few acres

seem like the only place to hide,

a shred of second-growth woods boxed in with blacktop,

shards of dim light beaming through the canopy,

a murderer’s one hope at forgiving himself.

Leaving my camp, I step carefully among the weeds.

and dead shades of brown leaves.

I’m not saying I forgive the killing of innocents. I don’t.

But if there’s any place that withholds judgment, it’s here,

deep in trees, where no one watches.

Where you take a leak wherever you please.

Where men leave their old bald tires and

mushrooms or coneflower grow up through.

Where the only trace of who you are,

or who you’ve been

is the leaping of frogs,

and shimmer of the surface that accepts them.


With each twig lifted from lush grass

I screw up my face to hold back tears.

I came here to scape land that I guess the man tends

so diligently in this narrow green floodplain

to escape the stark aridity

that might whisper him awake on the edge of town.

For weeks, before I bring the mower through the tallest grass,

I’ve been filling tarps with brittle fragments of Siberian elm,

sometimes brushing up against the little cabin

where he now tells me his son swallowed a gun

barrel one New Year’s Eve.

The boy had been found a month before

crossing the Bitteroots into Idaho half frozen

with only a pocket knife and blanket to his name,

committed to asylum then released.

He would be my age now.

I grow quiet, leaning on a leaf rake.

I would’ve walked beside him on the highway shoulder,

long into cold Bitteroot night,

borrowing hope against the darkness,

against the snow lit slantwise in the rush of headlights

like showers of Gemini.

Tom Freeman, the oldest of six children, comes from a little, twenty acre, not-for-profit farm in the Cuyahoga Valley of northeast Ohio. He has lived there for most of his twenty-three years but has also spent a considerable amount of time traveling, working, and mountaineering across the western United States where he feels most welcome. He enjoys hiking with his fourteen-month-old husky-wolf dog, Denali. He recently graduated from Kent State University.

Dotted Line