Dutch Tilt

Jennifer Handley

Dreamed I was in the back seat of a car with Robert Downey, Jr., a big black Packard like in a James M. Cain story. We’re making a movie, we’re making out; we’re being filmed through the side window by two guys crouched behind an old-fashioned camera shaped like Mickey Mouse ears. Robert wears a white shirt. He bends over me as I fall back against the vast upholstery. There is a driver, black suit and skinny tie, half turned in his seat. He gestures, and we look behind us, and framed in the back window is the top half of a huge rising moon, craters visible on its surface, moonlight shining in so that Robert’s white shirt glows and glows, the light nearly shattering the blue glass of my eyes.

Dutch tilt: In film, when the frame is canted at an angle to the horizon, so that the image in the frame is “tipped” to one side. Denotes giddiness, disorientation, a strange perspective, an altered state.

Jennifer Handley writes and teaches writing in northwest Washington State. Her work has most recently appeared in 100 Word Story. Her essays have also appeared in Puerto del Sol, Calapooya Collage and Trestle Creek Review.


  1. I really like this. Given the richness of description in the poem, I don’t think you need the audible footnote. Love the last line. ” the light nearly shattering the blue glass of my eyes.”

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