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

Sam Collier

Sanctuary for the Chosen Lost

We buried our fingers in fleece

until our skin shone.

Lanolin. Warm sheep faces

rubbing our shins. Dirt

packed so hard only hard rain

could ease it. Jacketed,

we closed our throats, scattered

geese, penned sly-eyed goats

gave blind ponies, broken ducks,

a feast of sun. In gravel dawns

we soaked our shoes in grass

and shoveled shit. The sky opened us

with its blade of wind.

Your body a ladder of light. Mine

a pillar of salt. Dozens

of birds between us, their chests

too swollen for their hearts

to fill. One time a pig fell over,

couldn’t get up. Bad hip.

Huge. We strained to lift him,

a sling around his belly, his eyes rolling,

his bristle-bare skin so human

I looked away. Strange

intimates. He shuddered, shrieked:

indignity of the treacherous body. I

saw. I saw. Sometimes my hands

betrayed me. Sometimes I sang

then thinking, caught myself,

covered it, turning my mouth

to the open mouth of the fan,

generous gale of its silence.

Nocturne In An Empty Sea

In 2007 a bowhead whale was caught off the coast of Alaska with fragments of a harpoon in its shoulder bone. The harpoon dated back to the late 1800s, indicating that the whale was at least 115 years old.

Salt in your mouth and your eyes clouds, you scrape crustaceans

and drift through winters, calling to the secret wells of water

in vowels shaped for love. There were years

when no one came. There were long years

when you thought you might be last. Might be final.

But sometimes from the liquid deep, a beautiful dark shape,

and then sometimes a calf, pressed shining

to the surface, swelled fat on milk and strong enough

to leave you. Nothing lasts. The world is warming and that old ache

still grumbles at your back—a spear carved in a lost century,

so men could read of plagues and angels by the blaze

of your lit fat, or split and steam your bristled teeth

to bind their daughters’ ribs. They struck you, but you sank away,

blood darkening the sea. You healed. You’ve carried the iron

hooked in your bone for so long now it’s part of you,

driving you on. You have no word for loneliness. You have no words

for summer. Yours is the kingdom of ice and wind. You swim

and the world spills before you into songs of blue and grey,

you crack the ice and the air is a rush of sweet cold, you breathe

and midnight comes again with its purple dust of stars.

Sam Collier is a poet, playwright, and theater artist. Her poems have been published in Iron Horse, Mortar Magazine, The Puritan, Liminal Stories, Guernica, and elsewhere. Her plays have been developed and/or produced by the Chicago Theatre Marathon, PTP/NYC, New Ground Theater, and Theater Nyx. Sam holds an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and is a 2017-18 member of the Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit. She teaches with the National Writers Series of Traverse City.

Dotted Line