Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2020    fiction    all issues

Poetry Summer 2020 cover


Cover Vecteezy

Rodrigo Dela Peña
If a Wound is an Entrance for Light
& other poems

Shellie Harwood
Early Evening, Late September
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
The Deacon’s Lament
& other poems

J. H. Hall
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
Two Aphids
& other poems

Sugar le Fae
& other poems

Lauren Sartor
Shopping Cart Woman
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
Mushroom Hunting, Jackson County, Kansas
& other poems

Elisa Carlsen
& other poems

Daniel Gorman
The Boy Achilles
& other poems

Samara Hill
I Look for Her Mostly Everywhere
& other poems

Nicole Justine Reid
Returning to Sensual
& other poems

David Ginsberg
Butterfly Wings
& other poems

Katherine B. Arthaud
Café Sant Ambroeus
& other poems

George R. Kramer
Young Odysseus
& other poems

Amy Swain
In Praise of Trees
& other poems

Frederick Shiels
Bad October: 2016
& other poems

Matthew A. Hamilton
Summer of '89
& other poems

Chris Kleinfelter
Getting from There to Here
& other poems

Martin Conte
Ghazal for the Shipwrecked
& other poems

Natalie LaFrance-Slack
I Do Not Owe You My Beauty
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Dark Water
& other poems

Writer's Site

Elisa Carlsen

Nest Initiation

it begins

like all stories begin,

a particle of light

exploding into the sun

expanding uniformly,

until we appear

to shoulder the wonder of it all,

carve our story from time

and make count

the exact number of days

we have to be here,

because when they pass

we’ll call back to them

full of nostalgia,

for the dive bars

and hullabaloo crowds,

for our weird and hungry hearts

still longing to be filled

like a river,

waiting for rain

like I was


for you


all my life

I’ve tried to slip the knot,

tied to the bow of my body

from birth,

wanted to lift my life up

and conform the shape of me

to something the world could love,

instead, I enter every room

awkward and un-ordained,

stuck in that space between space

where lost things live,

who only want to feel

the promise in their life again

like a pursuit-diver

on a broken piling

near the mix of salt,

and cold dark water

in the orbit of its own time

who can point its chest

to the tip of the world

fuck off and fly that way

Human Dimensions

stern-faced and beautiful

you set your life to sail

like a butterfly boat,

ported from the city

crowded with desire

going your way

until I got on mine

and we crossed

under that same

ever-dark, Astorian sky

where you / divided me

I could tell you were tired

from everything,

all the time, everything

but still you leaned in

as if to say . . .

I hope someday, something

wakes up inside of you,

tenders your darkness,

catches your fall

and turns you back

to water

Scientific Integrity

there is no doubt you went

between the folds

of interstitial space,

in deterministic beat,

I bet you’ll measure

the many moods of waterbirds

behind a perfect blind

with your still, empirical heart

and even though it’s been years

since your last sighting,

there are echoes of you here

a lasting, long-winded coo

roosting in the snags of

second-growth Sitka

from the yellow, curved shore,

where a cormorant, double-crested

dives in the air,

and where someone

who has loved something scared,

gives it back to its wild,

like you were given to yours

Social Attraction

I wonder about you

my maybe friend

with your tin-tin heart,

a wolf-trap for misfits and their kin

you love wild things so much

the fingers on your hand

blur into a web and look

like pelican feet standing

one-legged on driftwood

your bright-brown sea lion eyes

shining, ever watching

that great blue bear, the ocean,

your raspy voice

sounding like a DOS printer

running out of time

until it was,

if I could wish you back

with my dark birdy poems,

if just for the few sunny days

we get here, I would

Elisa Carlsen is an artist, poet and rusted metal fanatic. She recently completed her first chapbook about her experience working for the federal government to develop a cormorant management plan. She lives with love, in the Youngs River Valley. She is an outlier, untrained, with no awards of merit in her craft. And still, she persists.

Dotted Line