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

Molly Pines

Coming from California

Winter seems to reappear

Month after month here. The old snow

Lingers in patches. The sun stays low.

Gray coats the dampened trees in blear.

It’s April and I’ve been thinking of home.

These dark and darker months in Boston

Have been too long, too easy to get lost in.

To Berkeley streets and Stinson seafoam,

I miss you. But pride and age and some

Fascination with red brick

Pushed me here, and I need to stay.

The ache of being far away

Is cold and falls and seems to stick,

But I know it comes with the coming from.


In Haiku

Climbing the sand dunes,

she squints at an amber world

of infinite noons.

Meanwhile I’m flushed,

my skin damp, burnt, and cracked as

my legs scratch the brush.

A lizard arrives,

and she sees kaleidoscope

skin and gray-green eyes.

I slap a bug from

my arm, smudge the blurry speck

off with my small thumb.

She follows along

the crooked lines in the sand,

like rivulets gone

or paintings evoked.

I stop to drink some water,

my t-shirt sweat-soaked.

She goes on, dreams up

dunes as melting pyramids,

hopes for mourning doves.

I’m glad to think and

look at things the way they are.

Sun is sun. Sand, sand.

Soon, we’ll be leaving.

But she sits on a dune’s crest,

still, bright, glad, seeing.

Elmwood Cafe

There is the always shortish line in front

of the pastries: cookies, lemon currant scones,

and only a few chocolate coffee cakes

left today. And there are the big, round cups

with faded yellow patterns round their rims,

filled to the brims with different shades of warm

brown-beige, a sprig of sage drawn out in white

on each of their nervous, foamy surfaces.

And there are the old men with salt-and-pepper

beards and unkempt, emphatic eyebrows wrinkled

as they talk morning paper politics;

and teenagers with eager fingers clasped

around their pretty lattes; two women, happy

and complaining: work, the kids, the gym, the drought;

a writer splitting time between her muffin

and her poem, brushing crumbs off messy pages.

People in coffee shops seek different things.

For me, this is the world of little joys:

the bit of sugar that lingers at the bottom

of a coffee mug, the smell of peaches baking,

the quickness of a whisk against a bowl,

a ripple in a passing cup of tea,

the happy murmur of all the working and thinking,

all the talking and nodding, warm and sure and always.

The Pillbug

When we were young, we liked to play with pillbugs,

Those little armadillos of many nicknames.

We really only liked them for their one trick,

The one we learn in the dirt by the sandbox. Well,

Trick or torture, I never could decide.

But still I poked them, thrilled by the perfect globes

Of their bodies. They never learned that giant fingers

Were not to fear. We didn’t hurt them, really.

More fun was when we turned one on its back

And watched its legs, thinner than the wrinkles

Of our palms, its translucent abdomen stretched tight

Across its underside, like cellophane.

What kind of stuff is underneath the skin

Of something with an exoskeleton?

What was it like, to see the whole world flipped?

And could it back-flip back to life? And how?

It didn’t look like much. But then, somehow,

It worked. This bug flipped, it somersaulted!

It carried on, unfazed: its shell still smooth,

Its legs still quick, its thin antennae reaching

Calmly, matter-of-factly, like before,

Towards green and rain-soaked earth, towards dirt, towards home.

Its legs all pattered down my palm. Squash it!

Said a friend. But I let it go instead.

Molly Pines grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. An English-Spanish major at Amherst College, she is currently working on a senior honors thesis on poetry and psychoanalysis, looking at how language, affect, and interpretation all converge in the act of poem-reading. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably swimming, eating, or napping.

Dotted Line