Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2013    fiction    all issues


Sharron Singleton
Five Poems

Sarah Giragosian
Five Poems

Jenna Kilic
Five Poems

Kristina McDonald
Five Poems

Toni Hanner
Five Poems

Annie Mascorro
Five Poems

Brittney Corrigan
Three Poems

S. E. Hudgens
Four Poems

Ali Doerscher
Four Poems

David Sloan
Three Poems

Olivia Cole
Five Poems

Lucy M. Logsdon
Four Poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Four Poems

Donna Levine Gershon
Five Poems

Eva Heisler
The Olden Days

Stephanie Rose Adams
Five Poems

Jill Kelly
Five Encounters

Ben Bever
Five Poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Five Poems

Arlene Zide
Three Poems

Harry Bauld
Five Poems

Lisa Zerkle
Four Poems

Peter Mishler
Five Poems

Tim Hawkins
Five Poems

Marqus Bobesich
Four Poems

Abigail Templeton-Greene
Five Poems

Eric Duenez
Five Poems

Anne Graue
Five Poems

Susan Laughter Meyers
Five Poems

Peter Kahn
Two Poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Linda Sonia Miller
The Kingdom

Nicklaus Wenzel
Skagit River

Holly Cian
Five Poems

Susan Morse
Five Poems

Daniel Lassell
Five Poems

Svetlana Lavochkina
Temperate Zones

Daniel Sinderson
Three Poems

Catherine Garland
Five Poems

Michael Fleming
Five Poems

Sharron Singleton

The Dock-Sitters

To sit on a dock which has

walked out on stiff legs

twelve to fifteen feet away

from the weedy shore,

one board after another

reaching outward, drawing

your gaze across the unblinking

eye of the lake whose color

deepens further out, to sit

on this dock which seems

to want to hold you, even

rock you a little, to dangle

your feet, whiter in the green

cool water, to gaze down

into that silent world where

minnows eddy around

your toes, where sand

has agreed to be shaped

by ripples of water,

where reeds and water lilies

witness to you as that

which endures. To look out

on that lake, as birds dip low,

as quiet men in boats peer

into the depths, cast

their lines searching for

what is shadowy, elusive;

to lie back on gray, splintery

sun-warmed boards

in the silence of light—

is to allow that tight band

constricting your breath

to loosen, is to quench

your dire thirst for

the present. To sit

on such a dock is one

of the forgotten beatitudes—

blessed are the dock-sitters,

for they shall soon feel

shriven, their humor restored

and their pant legs

cool and damp.

Praying Mantis

Arms folded, wedge-shaped head

bowed, body, a long thin leaf—

the praying mantis worships

in the rosemary bush, nods his head,

asserts how righteous his life is

as he crunches a cricket whose legs

still kick going down. He rotates

his head almost full circle, great

bulbous eyes, hundreds of lenses

in each because the world is so

rife with beauty and danger.

What would it be like to see one

hummingbird swoop down as if

it were legion, to see the thrust

of uncountable sharp bills into

your side as if they were hot blades,

to see your death fly at you

from every angle, your entire

vision refracting the jeweled blur

of a thousand lethal wings.

Pigs can see wind

it is red, say the Irish—

and we know that

aborigines hear stars singing.

Those hogs, dainty

cloven feet in muck,

lift their heads at dawn

to gaze with calm eyes

at red paling to a pink

swirl above corn fields

while the Carolinas

are ravished by

ninety miles an hour

of purple and blood red.

And the stars, of course

they sing—wouldn’t you

if your body was fire,

lit by an unknown hand,

seen from afar in a mantle

of trembling light?

Waiting in Line After Christmas

What if all things could

be exchanged equally—

that is, not money

for things but forgiveness

for a vowel no one has ever

heard before. What if I

gave you the iridescence

of the sun on the back

of a mallard and you gave me

the desire to tap dance again.

Give me your complete

attention and I’ll give you

the scent of mimosa for three

winter nights. Perhaps,

in plain brown wrapping,

the postman will bring you

faint chimes from the bells

Scheherazade wore on her ankles

if you would send back six

folded prayers. There might be

an exchange center so the grief

I gave you for the pain

he gave me might be turned in,

to wait like ice waits for fire, like

stone waits for water

like never waits for maybe.

On Narragansett Bay

We sail at night

through warm moist air,

sails’ bellies just full,

the only sound

the shush of water

against hull as we skim

the edge of the strange

black world.

The knot meter says

our progress is slow,

depth sounder pings

with warning

but behind us,

in the phosphorus wake

are tiny sea creatures,

original source

of energy gone, yet

buoyant, still bearing

their frail green light.

Sharron Singleton Although I’ve been a social worker and community organizer, writing and teaching poetry is now my vocation. My poems have appeared in numerous journals. In 2009 I won the James River Writers Contest and was named Poet of 2010 by the journal Passager. I also won first-place prizes in 2010 and 2012 in the Poetry Society of Virginia annual contest and won first place in the MacGuffin Poet Hunt contest for 2012. My chapbook, A Thin Thread of Water, was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press. What I love most about poetry is how it enables one to see small miracles and epiphanies in daily life and how economy, spareness and compression of language can reveal the extravagance and multiplicity in all of life.

Dotted Line