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

Rachel A. Girty


Like a window left open

Winter after winter, like

A knock on the weathered door

And never a reply, I

Am a ghost town. I swallow

The plains around me,

I clear out warehouses, drive

Even the coyotes from town.

You’re only riding by, just a little

Blue girl on a bike, but

Sickness spreads, and once its enters you,

You can never pull every tendril out.

Radioactive, gleaming with kinesis,

You begin your rapid decay,

Halving and halving, baking in the sun

Until you are nothing but

A wisp of a receipt from the

Drugstore, a dying echo on the concrete

Wall, My bottle cap, my seesaw,

My aluminum clink.

Everything Gets Harder

Everything gets harder: the ground

Packed tight under days of snow, teeth and

Fingertips as winter beats on, scraping itself

Through the gaps in the window frame.

There are holes in us too—the chill

Reaches deep into your lungs and it’s harder

To say exactly what you mean. You open

The refrigerator door, just to see the pop

Of light, the rows and rows of boxes

And bottles. You try to speak and

Your voice drops away. It’s okay—

I’m trying to love you harder.

I mean the things I say now, I clean

The dishes you forget, I stop myself

From waking you when I’m afraid.

There are things we’ll never say

To one another, things we hoard that wedge

Themselves between us when we sleep,

But you’re warmer in the morning.

Things could be a whole lot harder.

I’m Afraid of the Things You Keep

After that night you wouldn’t

Touch peaches for a week.

You said something had happened

In the produce section, in your dream,

A floor full of grease and blunt objects.

In the morning you kept running

Your fingers along my jaw, to make sure

It was still there. I’m sorry about the peaches,

You said. It’s gruesome, you said, blood

And cooking oil don’t mix. I should have

Told you to stop, I should have said that

Dreams aren’t real until you wake up

And you choose to remember. I’m afraid

Of the things you keep: the sound

The sedan made outside our window

The night of the thunderless rain

And the scream of whatever it smashed.

You couldn’t find anything, even standing

In the driveway, soaking in your pajamas.

You carry every day the smell of the clinic

The day you told me you thought you would die

(There was nothing wrong with you at all)

And you’ve memorized the official list

Of ongoing worldwide conflicts. You keep

Imagining me gunned down or gagged up

But this is not a war. You and I

Are safe for now, are warm and loved

But you keep forgetting the days

Spent on windy beaches, the hours

Of firelight and spice-dark tea,

The kind old woman who gave you a nickel

When you came up short at the cider mill,

The minutes when you first fall asleep,

Dreaming nothing, listening, knowing

A word from me can wake you up.

Rachel A. Girty is a student at Northwestern University studying vocal performance and creative writing. She has performed with The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Northwestern University Opera Theatre, and The Castleton Festival. She works on the poetry staff of Helicon. Her poetry has appeared in Prompt magazine, and she was recently awarded the Jean Meyer Aloe Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

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