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

Mary Jane Panke


There are no rosary beads in my soul. No pumpernickel bread.

No oysters on the half shell.

There is no scratch ticket, used or unused, in its pocket,

or an extra pack of matches.

My soul seems opaque but if you shine a light from behind you can see

there are no paperclips, no broken shells, no

loose threads pulled from the hem of a skirt. No ice picks. No babies.

No dreams left half or whole undone.

There are no windows in my soul, but there are doors out back

and in the front and they swing

wide in the wind and sometimes chickadees get caught

on their way to the birdfeeder.

I bat my eyes for their tiny hearts, small puffs offering a way

out, no laments for the ones who stay trapped inside.

No snow is falling in my soul. Still the ground is white,

untouched, inviting me to find

my mittens, put on my winter boots, go outside to make angels

before the darkness shines.

Raising a Son

He has a serious resistance to feeling his feelings.

You’ll have to push him first

                        with kindness, then a little meanness,

                        a soft shove off the seesaw

so he loses his grip and falls back into the high grass,

bottom down, red sneakers flying up in the air.

                        He’ll feel the sting of unfairness,

                        of soured play.

His eyebrows will twist and bend—

the arched shock of betrayal, the slant determination

                        to hide his always fear,

                        the unbreakable bridge to not-strike-back.

All the huff and heat will drain from his cheeks

before he steadies to his feet

                        and when you hold out your hand

                        his watering eyes will tell you—

No, never! and What took you so long? and How come?

Transmission of Power

Amanda Gorman, the Poet Laureate who shines

sunbeam and pomegranate at Biden’s Inauguration suggests

We, each one of us, Be the Light in the World.

The young woman who could not enunciate

Right or WRong four years ago now plays with sounds

like a child with bright plastic cups in a bathtub,

uninhibited, unafraid to splash puddles on the old

tile floors. She inculcates and orchestrates

with talking fingertips—and I float and fall

to her drumming beats in the brilliant frozen air.

This twenty-two-year-old wrote this poem to recite

before King and Kingdom, proclaims Every Thing

“. . . just is    —    Justice.” And I laugh inside, I cry.

I lose my breath and find it. Break loose. I did not expect

to be swept to the foot of this patriotic hill, to be pointed

in this upward direction. Amanda Gorman is the indelible

ink, she is the undeniable Call to the empty page.

The Poem in her wakes up the Poem in me.


Notes live in his limbs,

seem never ending,

rush out in repeating patterns,

gutsy echoes pushed through

a broken hole. He exhales with exertion,

approximating song.

Not tamed by lips or tongue,

it comes from his blood,

this pulse of joy, this tickle of fate.

And he knows he cannot whistle

or tie his shoes. He knows

he will never drive cars, fly

airplanes. But it doesn’t scare him

from climbing staircases,

from shout-singing in the shower,

from welcoming this morning’s sun

with the full force of his breath,

untuned, unstoppable.

Mary Jane Panke is a past Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee with poetry appearing in various publications, including Poetry City, River River Journal, Word Fountain, The Ekphrastic Review and Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. She is a member of Monday Poets, lives near Hartford, Connecticut and can be contacted at

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