Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2015    fiction    all issues


Cover Peter Rawlings

J. H Yun
& other poems

Colby Hansen
Killing Jar #37
& other poems

Melissa Bond
Freud's Asparagus
& other poems

Jane Schulman
When Krupa Played Those Drums
& other poems

Susan F. Glassmeyer
First Moon of a Blue Moon Month
& other poems

Melissa Tyndall
& other poems

Micah Chatterton
& other poems

Emily Graf
& other poems

Kate Magill
LV Winter, 2015
& other poems

Michael Fleming
Meeting Mrs. Ping
& other poems

Richard Parisio
Brown Creeper
& other poems

Jennifer Leigh Stevenson
Circe in Business
& other poems

Laurel Eshelman
& other poems

Barry W. North
Molotov Cocktail of the Deep South
& other poems

Charles C. Childers
& other poems

Ricky Ray
A Way to Work
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn
& other poems

Linda Sonia Miller
Full Circle
& other poems

J. Lee Strickland
Anna's Plague
& other poems

Erin Dorso
In the Kitchen
& other poems

Holly Lyn Walrath
Behind the Glass
& other poems

Jeff Lewis
Charles Ives, A Connecticut Yankee
& other poems

Karen Kraco
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill
& other poems

Rafael Miguel Montes
& other poems

Jane Schulman

Final Crescent

Think of me on bruise-blue nights when

             moons wane to wisps

                          and you scan the eastern sky.

Think of me as a crocus

             cracking through matted leaves.

For I was born on ebbing days

             of Adar, when winds blew out-of-tune

                          and the moon a final crescent.

My soul makes its way through

             the world with hesitant footfalls.

Two of our sons were born in the month

             of Nissan. Prankish as lion cubs,

                          hearts of honeycomb and voile.

I know my soul more by what it is not.

When Krupa Played Those Drums

Sometimes I can’t think in metaphors.

Rocks are rocks. Tumors are tumors.

Time in close present.

10 tomorrow, CT scan.

I lie in bed. Listen for signs of life.

A cough. A snore.

By 2 AM clack of Dad’s walker,

slipper-shuffle to the kitchen

for bourbon on ice.

9 AM He falls. I boost

from behind. He yanks

with still-strong arms

and he’s on the sofa.

Victory when we don’t

need to call 9-1-1.

9:45 He slips on his loafers.

Back in motion. We’re off for the test..

5 PM He leans back in his chair,

stares at a black TV.

No Jeopardy. No C-Span.

Not even Ella Fitzgerald on the stereo.

What is it you think about, Dad,

while you sit with the TV off?

I go back to the good years

when I’d just met your Mom

and Gene Krupa played those drums

till three in the morning.

He doesn’t ask about

the CT scan; I don’t say.

Krupa, the way

he beat out those heartbeats.

Overheard on the F Train

My iPod snatched from an unzipped purse,

I’m left to listen, overexposed

to snatches of dialogue unrehearsed.

Ripped from my private universe,

of Dylan, Marley, Billy Joel

when my iPod’s snatched from an unzipped purse.

“Haven’t you heard, Karl’s cancer’s worse,

melanoma misdiagnosed.”

Snatches of dialogue unrehearsed.

“Leah just lost her job as a nurse

and her crazy ex-husband’s out on parole”

now my iPod’s snatched from an unzipped purse

“My daughter’s pregnant with her fourth.

You’d think she’d never heard of birth control.”

Snatches of dialogue unrehearsed.

A random act, what appeared a curse,

scattered totems of lives unposed.

My iPod snatched from an unzipped purse.

Gift of snatches of dialogue unrehearsed.

Back and Forth

Dad hurled words across the table at Frank

and me, empty hollow volleys. We’d toss back

streptococcus or carnivorous.

Little by little, I quit relying on words, chose

near-silence instead. Syllables jagged crystals

spit from my mouth. Starts and stops

like stutterers’ struggles to let loose sounds.

Still I’m tongue-tied, weighing each word

for heft, holding each up to the light.

No wonder my work now is shaping baba

and mima into words, smoothing a child’s stutter,

releasing the “gorilla voice” in a boy who only whispers.

I strain to hear my own still voice beside

the black-ring doves calling back and forth

from the cottonwoods along the river.


I used to talk real good. I used

to tell the best stories, the funniest jokes.

But now. I’m shut down, trapped

in my own head. Since the stroke,

I know what I want to say but words

get tangled and twisted all up. I think

“coyote” and “crocus” comes out.

“Excited” turns into “extinct.”

My friends don’t have time to wait for me

to spit out words. They keep filling in

empty spaces. Half the time, I’d rather

just be by myself—rocking and thinking,

rocking and thinking. I’m a man of Babel,

punished for my pride. Unravelled.

Jane Schulman is a poet and short story writer. She also works as a speech pathologist in a Brooklyn public school with young children with autism and significant cognitive delays. Jane has been a featured poet in local venues and taught senior citizens to write their lives in poetry, fiction, and memoir.

Dotted Line