Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2017    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Winter 2017 issue


Cover Thought-Forms

Laura Apol
On My Fiftieth Birthday I Return
& other poems

Jihyun Yun
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Red Jetta
& other poems

Sarah Blanchard
Carolina Clay
& other poems

lauren a. boisvert
Save a Seat for Me in the Void
& other poems

Faith Shearin
A Pirate at Midlife
& other poems

Helen Yeoman-Shaw
Calling Long Distance
& other poems

Sarah B. Sullivan
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
Metro Messenger
& other poems

Gabriel Spera
& other poems

Zoë Harrison
Pattee Creek
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Alexa Poteet
The Man Who Got off the Train Between Madrid and Valencia
& other poems

Marcie McGuire
Still Birth
& other poems

Kim Drew Wright
Elephants Standing
& other poems

Michael Jenkins
The Garden Next Door
& other poems

Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman
& other poems

Doni Faber
Man Moth
& other poems

M. Underwood
In Other Words
& other poems

Carson Pynes
Diet Coke
& other poems

Bucky Ignatius
Something Old, . . .
& other poems

Violet Mitchell
Deleting Emails the Week After Kevin Died
& other poems

Sam Collier
Nocturne in an Empty Sea
& other poems

Meryl Natchez
Equivocal Activist
& other poems

William Godbey
A Corn Field in Los Angeles
& other poems

Don Hogle
Austin Wallson Confesses
& other poems

Writer's Site

lauren a. boisvert

Save A Seat for Me in the Void

For two consecutive years

I have seen a dead cat on my birthday.

This has to be an omen, I say to no one, to myself

there is no other answer

             except that there are cats in the world

             and there are cars in the world

             and sometimes they meet and don’t get along

sometimes things just happen.

One year before the cats

I started believing you might be dead

because no one had seen you in five years

             or at least I hadn’t

and I like to base all decisions on the probability of death.

The probability of death was high

so I decided you were dead

and thought

             sometimes things just happen.

The thing about Boisverts is we love hard

but our secret is we hate even harder

but our solution to this is we are terrible at remembering.

I go out in the woods and carve your name in a slab of ice

and watch my letters melt into girl tears

             lusty with glitter and salt

and they are not in the ice but in my body

shaking the cage of me

and there are cats in the woods sharpening the trees.

Stand your back against red clapboards

so I can throw my knives between all your spaces.

The probability of death is low

             you are alive in my grandfather’s house

             with my knives jutting through the walls

             we use them to hang our house keys on.

We have the frozen lake behind us

that I stood on once and never again after that

so I am not accustomed to walking on water

             and neither are you

             I would not like you as much if you were.

The ghosts of two dead cats walk the water

black and white and whole

             clean fur

             mouths pink as Jackie Kennedy’s death suit.

I read that somewhere

             she wore “muted pink as the inside of a cat’s mouth”

and I think yes, that’s true, I have seen that pink

and I sit you down in a chair draped with a bear pelt

and make you open your mouth.

             My grandfather lived in the woods

             but I am probably misremembering the bear pelt

sometimes things just happen.

I take the omen of the dead cats

ball it up like tissue paper

and press it into your sternum like planting a seed

             cup my hands over it and pull out the ghosts.

The cats settle into my grandfather’s house

             sneezing in the dust of years

             licking the old glue that holds together his French novels

             rubbing their cold bodies against our legs.

They pick their teeth on the knives in the wall

             and so do I

             and so do you

scraping away the plaque of false memories

until the tragic real gleams in the thick yellow light.

Frida Kahlo On Display at the Dalí

I’ve been having dreams

of howling        and gold glitter burst from a package

spilling across my body            I am naked        I am pale and red

                                       as pomegranate flesh.

Nothing is good enough for a speeding train

I tell it that I am here              howling my presence to the fast metal

but everything is gold                           everything stars.

A hand passes before my eyes                          I will not dream

            take this howling and give it back to the wolves.

I am not sweet              not even in my blood am I sweet

see how it moves                       filling the train           mixing gold

crawling from my shattered pelvis     my twisted spine         see how it moves.

A white paper package bursts like a membrane

later I will pluck stars from my skin                keep them in a glass jar

            or maybe I will be buried with my body gilded like a relic.

David Foster Wallace Explains
Default Settings

This morning was a sweet cling peach

until I drove past a construction site

             and remnants of rejection gripped my insides

             like a frozen hand

squeezing my stomach

like an overripe fig.

Picture a man standing at a motel mirror

swigging gin from a plastic pint bottle

                          cheap stuff

just the back of him in a plaid shirt

             radiating disgust like a visible aura.

Disgust as default                          (this is water)

David Foster Wallace tells me to choose.

Compliance as default              obedience as default

lying cheating getting fucked over as default

but mostly       complaint as default

             center of the universe narcissism

             like love is narcissism

             and procreation is narcissism

                          as default.

God as scientist was reading Frankenstein

                          when he made us

and he modelled this man after the good doctor

(from Mary’s own mouth: the monster’s name is Frankenstein.)

I am getting ahead of my default setting:

             not everything is about me

             but this time it was.

This time my default was not a farce

but a reckoning fact                 biblical rendering

of what it means to be used and tossed for scrap.

David Foster Wallace says you get to decide

             but how can I

when bad memories are scattered like pollen

in my frontal lobes     blooming and becoming

                          without my consent?

The best I can do is walk slowly

and try not to complain.

lauren a. boisvert is a poet and a pisces from Florida. Her work has been published in Spy Kids Review, Mochila Review, Coffin Corner, and elsewhere. She tweets @myldstallyns.

Dotted Line