Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2021    fiction    all issues


Andrej Lišakov

Laura Apol
I Take a Realtor through the House
& other poems

Rebekah Wolman
How I Want my Body Taken
& other poems

Devon Bohm
The Word
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Right Kind of Woman
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
Gravestone Flowers
& other poems

Laura Turnbull
& other poems

Andre F. Peltier
A Fistful of Ennui
& other poems

Peter Kent
Reflections on the Late Nuclear Attack on Boston
& other poems

Carol Barrett
Canal Poem #8: Hides
& other poems

Alix Lowenthal
Abortion Clinic Waiting Room
& other poems

Latrise P. Johnson
From My Women
& other poems

Brenna Robinson
& other poems

may panaguiton
& other poems

Elizabeth Farwell
The Life That Scattered
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Two Stairways
& other poems

Richard Baldo
A Note to Prepare You
& other poems

Blake Foster
Aubade from the Coast
& other poems

Bernard Horn
& other poems

Harald Edwin Pfeffer
Still stiff with morning cold
& other poems

Nia Feren
Neon Orange Tree Trunks
& other poems

Everett Roberts
A Mourning Performance
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich
The Way I Wander
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
the iron maiden and other adornments
& other poems

Elizabeth Farwell

Red Brick

On my walk in the neighborhood tonight I saw a house

             red brick, with wooden boards on the side

             it looked just like mine.

I paused, seeing it for the first time

on a street I had walked,

but had never seen the sign

The more I studied it, the more I saw my own

Crumbling, broken childhood home

I wondered who the people in this house were, inside.

                          When was the last time they cried?

                          Were they anything like my family?

                          Or was their domestic bliss easy?

The architect, surely,

             must have been

             the same,

And I had to hold myself back from the door, as I stood

wondering what could have happened in my house

             on a street

             with a different name.

. . . .and you can say things

very well may have completely gone

the exact same.

But I demand

acknowledgement of this other place,

somehow in this house, there’s more space,

living here would have given us any ounce of grace.

I turned my back to the house,

into the cold wind as it blew across my face,

for, like the memories I had begun to chase,

the moment was over,

gone, without a trace.


I’m tired of hearing you cry, Mom

so late into the night, Mom.

Your troubles fall into tears

which tiptoe down the hall,

past his room

into mine

where I wait by the door

Collecting them into a bucket

adding to the bank of reasons why I have to act, to run,

something must be done, before the dam bursts

I’m tired of him making you cry, Mom.

You don’t deserve to suffer, Mom.

I know he is your own flesh and blood

the diapers you changed, the red hairs

you nurtured through

as if you grew them upon your own head

little league games, boy scouts, middle school, licenses,

fist fights, drugs, detention, suspension, retention, hopelessness

when he was old enough—

backs of police cars, the mind hospital

a Thanksgiving where our family ate two turkeys, one on a cardboard tray in a visitors’ room,

surrounded by strangers and their families

and my beloved little brother, too old for that place yet too young to belong with adults,

trapped and miserable

another turkey long dead and cold,

delicious, at home, on a glass plate,

consumed at a table with one vacant spot.

But Mom, you grew him

and he is now

rotting the same roots

which brought me into this world

loving, kind, providing

the very same diaper changing,

blonde curl brushing, soccer watching,

graduation day clapping,

cut and scrape cleaning


now held up to your face

I cannot sit idly by and watch

your branches produce liquid leaves,

to hear you sob until tears run dry

any longer.

Unjust. But what can be done?

As I sit, behind my door

holding your tears

to my heart

with my hands.

Not justice, but grace

At a certain point in time,

I realized the ultimate irony in seeking justice is

regardless of someone being put away,

the situation has already been lost

on both sides.

It does not matter, it did not

ever matter to me

what became of the man responsible

for my brother’s murder

For my brother was already

irreversibly, unavoidably gone

from earth.

I’d never know him again in this lifetime

So what was the point

of taking a lifetime

of knowing and seeing

away from the man

who took it from me?

For that man, I learned,

also had

a brother.

The question I always come back to

You’re there, aren’t you?

In the space in my heart

that hasn’t stopped aching

since you left

You’re there aren’t you?

In the hole, in the cavern, in the pit of my stomach

which gnaws when I think of

what your fate was.

You’re there aren’t you?

In the glimmers of the water, on the tops of

the trees, in the notes of the music

in the background of my life,

notes only I can hear,

waves only I can see,

a rustle in the wind sent straight to me

watching from a shrub,

looking down from the clouds,

You’re there, aren’t you?

The Life That Scattered

Grief is the Big Bang,

an explosion of galaxies

an alteration of life as you had not known it,

something some still deny.

The death which erupts from the stars lit on fire,

sets forth new life

galaxies, planets waiting to be discovered.

I hope to die many deaths in my life.

I will so many Big Bangs, each one

bigger and louder than the last

for on the other side of the scattering pieces,

the cosmic eruption, and destruction of What Once Was

is the unthinkable, the frontier of What Will Be.

The new order of the galaxies, stars, moon, and tides

all created

from the dust

of the stars left behind

From the life

             that scattered.

There exists a time capsule from when Elizabeth Farwell was four. This year I want to learn: “how to read,” she answered. And she loved to read so much, she eventually wrote her own words that could be read. 21 years later, Elizabeth has a degree in English, a day job in tech PR, and now a poetry collection. Writing has saved her life, her sanity, and helped her to find magic in the world.

Dotted Line