Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2016    fiction    all issues


Cover Joel Filipe

Alexander McCoy
Questions to Ask a Mountain
& other poems

Alexandra Kamerling
& other poems

Debbie Hall
She Walks Into Starbucks Carrying a 2 x 4
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Sheet and Exposed Feet
& other poems

Melissa Cantrell
& other poems

Martin Conte
& other poems

AJ Powell
The Road to Homer
& other poems

Paul W. Child
World Diverted
& other poems

Michael Eaton
& other poems

Lawrence Hayes
Walking the Earth
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
Like a Bit of Harp and a Far Off Twinkle
& other poems

Sam Hersh
Las Trampas
& other poems

Margo Jodyne Dills
Babies and Young Lovers
& other poems

Nicole Anania
To the Dying Man's Daughter
& other poems

Lisa Zou
Under the Parlor
& other poems

Hazel Kight Witham
Hoofbeat Heartbeat
& other poems

Margaret Dawson
& other poems

James Wolf
An Act of Kindness
& other poems

Jane A. Horvat
& other poems

Bill Newby
& other poems

Jennifer Sclafani
Hindsight Twenty Twenty
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson

Glued Together then Burst Apart, the Pain Between Our Teeth

We wake together and see ourselves

as fractions, infinite geometries

boiled into ratios of space and time—

locked eyes, dawn-warmed sky,

i-love-yous from phlegm-choked throats—like a simplified bit of crystal

where we hope to find a me and you and us,

but we know that somewhere else along this surface

a living dog is eating a dead one,

and somewhere else is our microwave

or uncountable stars choking on iron.

Even outside of time we are stuck here with everything else.

Even considering questions like ‘who is happier?’ and ‘what is true?’

living an examined life seems like a wash.

How can I live with you and love you and want you

while feeling dissolved—like Cantor’s Set or a sugar cube

drowned in black coffee. We wake together and see

how we become us

choking and in love

with a few bright slivers

and another clogged holy book paged with floods.

Snapshot Under Vesuvius

Chinese takeout half eaten.

Cat’s head half inside the box

behind us. Bed sheets

crushed and messy. Fingers gripped

and cast in ash.

Our clothes tossed off as the sun cracked.

Lost for a moment. Then scorched.

Cracking Open, I think of Dido;
Using My Flesh as Surface
to Bind some Sense of Me
as Mine in this

I saw it again, the drowning

everywhere. Inside, we are not one thing,

but an endless ascension of ever more total

disasters. We stay for

the show—the cheers the tears the bets—

like it’s not our ribcage in this dream

between the sphinxes teeth. A few years

between psychotic breaks and counting. I hear

those words too loudly sometimes—echoed through the theater

until my ears grow claws, until I want to eat the world away and into me

except I am already full and leaking and finished

with all those hallelujahs from the back row.

Imagine that you and I are alone

like everything else. Imagine that the water is high

above our heads in a wave. Imagine everything

is a shrieking mouth, a light, a blade, a perspective

crawling past the shadows into snow.

Like a Bit of Harp
and a Far Off Twinkle

I’m told it happens all the time

in Heaven after the parades pass—our hands

sucked up into prayer, our organs

opened or replaced. That’s where

the music comes from—not harps,

but all that living caked up inside us

cut out and torched each morning.

The newbies enter freshly scorched,

not knowing yet that rapture means

a careful and eternal incineration.

Even in Heaven, death is routine.

As here, where the sun dries us out.

Where we smoke too much and

lose our voices and our fathers

lose themselves

one popped cell at a time

where we wrinkle and burn

and scream and cut ourselves

out of ourselves—half wild half nothing—

and all the knives and gas and radiation

ever do is simmer against the edges

of each fresh day as we smolder.

Those Tooth-Bright Lights
Ahead of Us

From something sharp in us, our eyes water.

Our mouths open, our throats quake

a few cracked sentences to keep

these flimsy cities of ours from starving.

Still, we’re no good

as singers. What held us is leaving.

What holds us

today seems much the same. Lost time,

old skins, everything slinks away

until all that’s left is a summer’s eve of fireflies—

wet nights walking

through brush, chasing wisps

to catch a bit of light in our hands

and crush it—streaking guts

beneath our eyes, like burst stars;

killing for a symbol in the night.

Daniel Sinderson is a high-tech mechanic and a happily married man. He writes often, deeply enjoys puzzles, still listens to punk music, and mostly wears pants out of consideration for others.

Dotted Line