Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2022    fiction    all issues


Li Zhang

Ana Reisens
Pam asked about Europe
& other poems

Krystle May Statler
To the Slow Burn
& other poems

Kristina Cecka
On Remodeling
& other poems

Belinda Roddie
Bless The Bones Of California
& other poems

Summer Rand
Alexander tells me how he'd like to be buried
& other poems

Alexander Perez
Toward the Rainbow
& other poems

Karo Ska
self-portrait of compassion…
& other poems

David Southward
The Pelican
& other poems

George Longenecker
Stamp Collection
& other poems

Mary Keating
& other poems

Talya Jankovits
Imagine A World Without Raging Hormones
& other poems

Laurie Holding
Sonnet to Mr. Frost
& other poems

David Ruekberg
A Short Essay on Love
& other poems

Elaine Greenwood
There’s a thick, quiet Angel
& other poems

Richard Baldo
Carry On Caretaker
& other poems

Jefferson Singer
Dave Righetti’s No-Hitter…
& other poems

Diane Ayer
A Fan
& other poems

Kaecey McCormick
Meditation Before Desert Monsoon
& other poems

Meg Whelan
& other poems

Katherine B. Arthaud
& other poems

Aaron Glover
On Transformation
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
[I'm crying in a sandwich shop reading Diane Seuss' sonnets]
& other poems

Holly Cian
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Selective Memories are the Only Gift of Dementia
& other poems

Steven Monte
& other poems

Mervyn Seivwright
Fear Mountain
& other poems

Katherine B. Arthaud

You were

You were the gentler of the two, the light touch,

the dimming sky, the softer voice

in the chorus of all the voices.

You were the shade under the tree,

the milder weather, the sleeping lion,

the lighter rain.

He was the lightning across the field,

the sun, the volcano, the red carnation,

the loud voice, the long prayer,

the organ in the sanctuary.

But it took both of you to make us—

one, two, three—different as minerals, yes that

different. Different as colors.

Different as animals in a jungle.

Different as countries with different flags.

Different as costumes, as cultures, as songs.

We are lost without you, travelers now,

flying careless across the land

until the knowing strikes us—

lightning out of the dazzling blue—

that in our absence our house

has burned to the ground.

The rooms where you slept are silent now.

The curtains are stillness itself in the windows.

Your empty shoes

on the breezeway by the watering can

still sing the song of you who have left us.

Your hats are all on hooks, your sweaters

folded in soft stacks in the closet. We touch

your shirts, one by one,

in the darkness of the mirrored closet.

We touch my father’s ties,

ribbonlike in a different cedar-scented darkness.

The White Plate

The only thing of value is a white plate.

It doesn’t look precious, and I don’t remember it,

propped against the wall in the dining room

near the fireplace into which my aunt hurled plastic fruit

one snowy New Year’s Eve, not far from the portrait

of young Lavinia Holt, who died as a child,

indicated by a flower held in her pale left hand,

a sadness. And then, the white plate, as the

world goes tilted, the very sky askew—

how did it not shatter, this Zen-plain treasure,

unlikely as a mid-day moon, with these two deaths,

so soon upon one another?

How? Like two stars . . . a flicker . . . another . . . then gone.

Father. Mother.

We didn’t even catch our breaths,

scarcely a fortnight in between.

Sitting together on the lawn, near the old hammock,

ropes gray with mold and age, the trellis buzzing still

with bees—morning glory, honeysuckle, forsythia, all of it—

on the green grass in latticed chairs, they’re sipping tea and eating toast,

they were always eating toast.

The nurses are packing the medical supplies—returning

this home to a younger, healthier version of itself,

more like the one we remember, when this god

and goddess stood glistening with pool water in the sun,

in bathing suits and striped towels, summer slate hot

beneath their soles. Farewell, and farewell again,

you two. We will probably sell the plate,

as it says nothing, nothing, of the richness.


Innocent, the river and the geese that graze

by the river. Innocent the bridge and

what it’s made of. Innocent the students

who walk over the bridge bearing books and paper.

Innocent my heart, though it doesn’t feel

innocent, with its uncomfortable onionskin layers,

a thousand striations of memories, bruises, contusions.

I would drive my own car back then,

eyes open, and keen—both hands on the wheel

at nine and three, the way my father taught me—

speeding (usually) towards the unrequited

and its shimmering, silver sheen,

turning left then left again to follow

what glitters, untouchable, untouched, just there—

there, where the trees end and the sky begins, can you see?

I learned my lesson, eventually.

Still, I feel sometimes like a shiny bald pawn,

pushed around this checkered landscape

by an unseen hand, especially yesterday

while pushing my white-blond boys

in a double stroller from MIT

up the path that lines the Charles, in the rain, my husband in a rage

running away towards Watertown, and not for the first time,

or the last. But that was years ago,

which is what I am talking about: striations.

Layers and layers, I am saying.

I am not guilty of doing much more than wanting more days now.

Like brick or geese

or water flowing east to the bay, why would I

hate myself more than these things?

I gather it all up like an armful of warm laundry,

meaning, myself I gather up,

along with my past and my endless thinking

about the past, along with my not thinking about anything.

Innocence, like the weather here, seeps into my bones

slowly, the way it has for you. It feels like singing,

only in reverse. If such a thing were possible.

Katherine B. Arthaud lives in northern Vermont, currently serving as a minister in the United Church of Christ. Years ago, she attended the Bennington College Writers Conference and the Middlebury Breadloaf Writers Conference. She is a contributing writer to The Charlotte News, and for two decades served as a Guardian Ad Litem in the Chittenden Family Court. She has been writing poetry and fiction for a long, long time. She is also a mother of three young adult children.

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