Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2021    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Summer 2021


Diana Akhmetianova

Monique Jonath
& other poems

Alix Christofides Lowenthal
Before and After
& other poems

Rebbekah Vega-Romero
La Persona Que Quiero Ser
& other poems

Oak Morse
Incandescent Light That Peeks Through Secrets
& other poems

George Kramer
The Last Aspen Stand
& other poems

Elizabeth Sutterlin
Meditations on Mars
& other poems

Holly Marie Roland
& other poems

Devon Bohm
A Bouquet of Cherry Blossoms
& other poems

Ana Reisens
In praise of an everyday object
& other poems

Maxi Wardcantori
The Understory
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
& other poems

Karen L Kilcup
The Sky Is Just About to Fall
& other poems

Pamela Wax
He dreams of birds
& other poems

Mary Jane Panke
& other poems

a mykl herdklotz
Mouettes et Mastodontes
& other poems

Claudia Maurino
Good Pilgrim
& other poems

Mary Pacifico Curtis
One Mystical Day
& other poems

Tess Cooper
Airport Poem
& other poems

Peter Kent
Congress of Ravens
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
White Women Running
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Creating a Corpse
& other poems

Everett Roberts
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Canada Geese
& other poems

Writer's Site

Tess Cooper

Strawberry Roses

Blind stripes of morning sun; coral roses in my bedroom are the sweetest domestication—

Though red and white columbine grows at my windowsill and this is my heart’s bitter favorite.

It is naked-on-the-beach weather and my popsicle and lips are mango flavored, glossed with sugar.

Bright orange matches my ocean hair and reminds me of juice bursting from flesh with a sweet spice from the islands

Where I am not allowed to visit abuelita


I awake and my mouth tastes like the sea

I remember a little cabin by the water

Where pheasants come in the spring and we eat them in the summer

Where there are reeds by the bank and the river runs red and yellow with speckled bellies

We wore plaid and denim, sandals and bare feet

Met the cows who gave us our ice cream-

Invasive blackberry just as I am

Thorny and thick, but sweet under the august sun

You are saltwater taffy, sticking to my teeth long after I’ve had you

Filling my mouth with that ocean sweetness I haven’t had since I was a teenager

I awake and my mouth tastes like the sea.

My Own Name is Bitter in my Mouth

The first thing I am aware of in the morning is the long growl of my stomach, and yet;

I will not feed it until evening.

I hunger for flesh in the reddest sense;

Sex and roasted chicken are my safe foods

Nicotine and caffeine do me one better

I carve away five pounds of myself every week,

As if less of my body means more of me

This is not the most beautiful I will ever be

I am cheekbones and jawline, lips and eyes

My collarbones are the thin branched perches of sparrows

And for this I eat once a day

For dainty white cotton dresses and slender braceleted wrists,

I dream of bread that will never pass my lips

Airport Poem

You are the owner of all my organs and I am gutted

Crying again in the airport as we part because I am allowed less than persephone’s lot;

We part and I again I am penelope, my patience no virtue but a forced hand

I fold this turn into my airplane seat, knees to chest and eyes fevered and wet.

There is a layer of wool over Dallas,

a weeping blanket of cloud and I wish dearly for gin,

Though I cannot afford the hangover, for—

As my flight takes off I am already heart sick.

What walks

Brother, do you believe?

I stand at the pulpit and preach— Oh Lord above

Do you believe in what lives in the cornfield

And why we don’t go there after dark?

Brother do you believe?

I stand in the waters and preach

Dark waters where alligator turtles live

And catfish mermaids lurk

They get bigger than you think.

Oh brother, I say, do you believe?

Do you know why we say not to leave the safety of the porch light

when you hear your name from the dark?

Brother I tell you that church has been abandoned for good reason

No souls can be saved there anymore

No joyous shouts can be heard in the rafters, only birds

Kudzu now owns the doorway and half the pews

And the devil walks with his white hat, asking

Brother, oh Brother, do you believe?

Tess Cooper is a writer, artist, and sometimes bear currently living in the woods in Alabama. She has lived in six different states and has been eager to get into fist fights since age seven.

Dotted Line