Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2018    fiction    all issues


Cover Elena Koycheva

Bryce Emley
Asking Father What’s at the End
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Faith Shearin
& other poems

Claire Van Winkle
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
Summer Cycles
& other poems

Nooshin Ghanbari
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton
The Afterlives of Leaves
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
& other poems

Paula Bonnell
In Winter, By Rail
& other poems

Addison Van Auken Waters
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
& other poems

Andrew Allport
All Nature Will Fable
& other poems

Marte Stuart
What an Insult Time Is
& other poems

Matthew Parsons
My Father as an Inuit Hunter
& other poems

Emily Bauer
Gently, Gently
& other poems

Bruce Marsland
A once lovelorn bard’s final journey
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Night Makers
& other poems

Isabella Skovira
Lawless Conservation
& other poems

Juan Pablo González
Colombia, 1928
& other poems

Molly Pines
The Pillbug
& other poems

Jamie Marie
On the Lake
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
If You Show Me Yours
& other poems

Bill Newby
Tuesdays at The Seagate's Atlantic Grille
& other poems

Elder Gideon
Male Initiation Rites
& other poems

Joel Holland
Dear Gi-Gi
& other poems

Martha R. Jones
How Lewis Carroll Met Edgar Allan Poe
& other poems

Writer's Site

Paula Bonnell

To a Chicken Pie

Dearly beloved, you were there

to greet me with a smile of steam

when I walked home from school

on those winter grade-school days,

home to avoid the abhorred squishiness

of lunchbox sandwiches and the softball games

of the noon recess. You were there,

consoling, in my young married days

on the nights when we got home

at 10 p.m. from work and night school.

You were there in my civil-servant days,

transmogrified to a turkey pie

with a touch of cinnamon in the gravy,

made by my co-worker on her turkey farm.

Those were the days when I came home late

to you, having enjoyed the privilege

of rank: unpaid overtime.

And I recall, too, how even before

grade school, when I looked at the illustrations

showing rivers of milk

and islands of cake, I always knew

that the pies growing on trees

were you, O chicken pie.

And now, dear friend (as my nephew said

to his big wooden truck when he carried

it down the stairs), I do not question

your coming to mind as I stand here

in my near-vegetarian middle age

on the subway platform,

a vision of your browned crust

rising rotundly.

I simply greet you with pleasure.

When broken, your crust will—I know—

release fragrant hints

of the white, orange, and green

nourishment deep in your inland sea

of gravy, cradled in your crinkled silvery pan.

The Who & How of Morning

The rooster hauls the sun

from the bottom of the sea

and the little birds

with the fine mesh net

of their songs

lift it inch by inch

over the horizon

And by the time

its bottom edge

clears the horizon

the seawater

has all drained

out of it and

it is light

and can rise

of its own accord

to the top of the sky

When & Why It Got Wet


and the sun has risen

so high that it can see

how little we have done

all morning, how much we

have omitted, what bungles

we have begun. Changing

its angle hardly improves

the picture. It

notices certain small

worthy persistences,

its slant rays reveal a

good deed, inspirations

here and there, but the sun

sees everything. It is

heavy-hearted, molten

with grief, unwilling to

face the wrongs that might be

done after dinner when

what is kind is streaked with

what is cruel. It paints

a canvas that mingles

shame with a flowchart for

glory, then the sun

lowers itself in its

bath and the world

floods with darkness.

On The Bay

Rain salts the air

Vagueness erases the horizon

Blank sky seared with

white from a hidden sun,

a diffusion of clouds


the air pops open—

Thunder slams it shut.


and once only . . .

Rumbles fall off the edge . . . .

Yes, we all saw it, all heard it—

No, all the trees seem intact—

House silence:

Tearing lettuce,

choosing the green bowls,

milk glass, a blue plate

Talk of our mothers,

torn bread, fish chowder


The Interior Decorators’ Vow

When my partner and I took on this job

we were clear from the beginning

about what we wouldn’t do.

We wanted to avoid

even the idea of a concept.

Two rooms in a millionaire’s penthouse

and a little vestibuley anteroom

that he called a “lobby.” (A

million isn’t much these days,

when you think about it.)


In the lobby we placed

a low cedar chest. And beside it

an African sculpture, upright,

the kind Picasso admired.

A warrior, this one—I’d say maybe

related to his Don Quixote

drawings. Nothing else

African in the place.

(I don’t count, of course,

the faux zebraskin rug

beside the ormolu table

on which rests a bakelite box.)

Our fakes were the real thing:

fakes. We didn’t overdo the faux

thing, though; that would have

been too much of a good fling.

The bedroom had color:

rich reds, deep blues. The

living room tried to be almost

without color. Not neutrals, though.

Nothing gray, for example.

There was glass, open-textured things,

some greens mixed in.

No pure whites. A lot of

stuff in that room made

of natural materials that were

variegated as hell (or as hell

wouldn’t be, if there were

such a place)—baskets in which

the tones were an astonishing

mélange of straw yellows, reedy

browns and clay reds, the whole

thing quite the mixed discourse.

I’d say “airy,” but that’s a con-

cept, and what we were trying to


In Winter, By Rail

Black shine on water

Shadows precede

each of the trees

Marsh stubble dull copper

Loops of river water

coppery, smooth

From the train:

rivers disclose harbors

birds land

and hold themselves in their wings

Old blue clothes

caught in a tree

beside the harbor

Redbrown leaves, stones,

trunks rising—

branches V and branch again

Muting whistle

a feeling of mist

beside trees, beside waters


osprey nests on platforms—

a flotilla of swans

White-covered boats

houses on stilts

a toss of small birds

Poems by Paula Bonnell have appeared in APR, Rattle, Spillway, and more; and won awards from Negative Capability, the New England Poetry Club, the Chester H. Jones Foundation, and the City of Boston. Mark Jarman chose her Airs & Voices for a Ciardi Prize and Albert Goldbarth selected her “Eurydice” for a Poet Lore narrative-poetry publication award. Bonnell’s collections include Message and two chapbooks: Before the Alphabet and tales retold. More at

Dotted Line