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

Matthew Scampoli

Paddle Ball


Pink ball on a rubber string

The tip of her tongue a writhing, uprooted earthworm

An incessant gentle thud

I feel her concentration

“25 Dad!”

Later, we lie silently on a mattress of thick grass

And watch the sunset

12 now, I hear the sounds of her growing older with each breath

“Dad, why doesn’t it just bounce off the horizon 

(See how the flat rocks ricochet from the water’s surface)?”

Indeed, (I think to myself), it only sinks deep below

Like wounded pride into a dark abyss

While the evil chill settles into and around us

“But it rises in a symphony of brilliance,” I say

“Again and again,

Like a paddle ball on a rubber string”

“Love you Dad”

Relieved, I ease back into my darkness

And nonchalantly coalesce with my worries

Beneath a decaying canopy of hope

At the Shore

The aroma of sea and aged wine vapors lulled me to a sandy retreat,

And as I squinted up through the sunspots and glare

I saw your scarlet lips

And your freckles, all randomly spilled upon an ivory canvas.

I watched the seaweed twirl on the kite string

Like a forlorn seedling helicoptering its way to fertile ground.

Erratic movements, like a discarded beach ball in the wind,

attended me.

When The Maestro tapped his baton on the lifeguard’s tall wooden chair,

The last wave crescendoed in perfect 4/4 time,

A darting breeze snapped the umbrella fabric,

The seagulls chanted an urgent chorus, and

Suddenly, I lost my senses.

But just as I accepted my newfound weightlessness . . .

“Come” you said, your generous bosom pointing the way.

Rising from the cool dark shade, I witnessed cotton candy clouds framing your silhouette.

The sun teased the ocean’s edge as I absorbed your warmth.

While you sashayed, I heard the gentle crunch of sand

Beneath your French pedicure.

Our fingers cut through the licking wind.

I bristled at the chill of my sweaty palms and sunburned skin

And breathed your jasmine perfume.

Your cherub tattoo weeping saltwater,

We walked to Nowhere and arrived to a waxing moon,

The stars winking at our togetherness.

“I can’t imagine it,” you said,

As you sat, criss-cross applesauce, on the teak boardwalk.

But what you really meant was 

That you couldn’t comprehend it

Which is quite an important distinction

Because after all, as children we lived by imagination.

Burrow, hermit crab!

Spying through your translucent flowing linen, I glimpsed your belly

Distended from the fruit we planted there.

And when we returned, we studied each other,

Weathered and bleached

Like driftwood vomited upon the shore,

And smiled.


We smelled the sweet decay of autumn

As the sun hung low and distant

Like an indifferent youth leaning on a street lamp with a cigarette hanging from his lips.

“Yes, you can,” said I,

And gently lifted her sharp chin with a curled index finger.

Her large eyes were two fried eggs on a skillet—steady and unblinking.

“Think of the seed,” said I.

“It’s infinitesimal,

Merely a speck

Buoyed by breeze.

Soon it’s punished by beams of sunshine,

Drenched by torrents of rain,

Relegated to lie hopeless in the muck.

In time, it’s a resplendent and majestic tree

Standing stoical against winter’s biting wind.”

In one swift errand, and

With a knowing glance

I watched her peel away

And felt a familiar swell in my core

As the ball left her foot

And distorted the symmetry of the rectangular soccer net.

Libretto of a Three Act Opera

Seated in my private box

I reach for my glasses

As the curtain parts

And I hear the familiar choral swell

(I know this libretto by heart)

Act I

Intermingled shadows of distinct forms 

Melting in an awkward dance 

Act II

A filthy, biting, angry, swirling cyclone of vomited words in a deafening crescendo

SPLCH! *tink, tink*

Shards of porcelain scattered like grain on the cold kitchen tile


Bereft of all senses

In my private hillside castle

With my moat and my stone walls

I poke sticks at the sentries

The Impropriety of Soul

As you spoke,

My soul abandoned all decorum,

Gliding gleefully through your hair,

Lying about lazily on each perfumed tuft.

It swam desperately in the deep pools of your eyes, 

and danced across the perfect symmetry of your face.

Then, encircling your tender neck,

It ran to the valley of your chest

And hiked the gentle peaks of your breasts.

It inched its way across your pale abdomen,

Twisted its way to the small of your back

Where it caressed your Venus dimples,

Skied expertly down your buttocks,

And surfed the smooth islands of your thighs.

It paused to read the tattoo encircling your ankle

Before sliding along the arches of your feet.

It returned to me

More wanton than before it left

Eager to explore this foreign, beautiful terrain

Again and again.

Matthew Scampoli writes in Pelham, NY.

Dotted Line