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

Writer's Site

Elaine Greenwood

There’s a thick, quiet Angel

assigned to the back of my head, my scalp

I can feel him with the fingers of my left hand

working hard, through the night when it’s safe

for him to weave and sew, beneath my hair

every morning, still, he’s built another tapestry

I imagine him on his stomach, his feathers

stretching out in all directions, a starfish

belly to my bleeding wound, holding me in

keeping my pillow true, even attending to

single hairs, survivors swaying in the pooled red

I have often been afraid of angels, but not this

one, I have no reverence for his art, no holy fear

or perhaps I love his work so dearly, I

sabotage it every morning with the hope

that he’ll never stop returning to save me.

I know that it’s profound,
the livingness of things

I —

The sea cutting through the sandbar, her

tidal arms embracing the bloomy marsh

the clover fields, microscopic, so many

electric-green bosoms pressed to the sky

the blue heron, the ballerina, the sneeze

of a hundred swallows in perfect swarm

yet, the more I walk in the world the more

I am squinting through a hole, a small

sliver of unrelenting light, blurry and bidding

me close the very eyes I cannot see, blue

I am straining and mis-pronunciating

a stranger to these perfect days.

II —

Had I known, yet even as I am knowing

the earth-sized shapes of human souls

unfurled behind two blinking pinholes,

landscapes of seven billion bodies—

now seeing you, woman in your phone, examining

your cheekbones in the photo with your daughter

is knowing something of my own eternal everything

hip-to-hip beside you on an airplane in the sky

as a circle of lights on the icy

earth comes slowly into focus.


If I can’t hide you inside of my body

I don’t want anything to do with you.

If I can’t thread you through a needle

and pull you through the lengths of me—

I’ll hide my face from you.

If I can’t press my face into you

and you keep touching me with

all your fingers, refusing to be seen—

I’ll deny the existence of you.

At least in your iciest form, you muffle

the hisses and hums of creation—

at least I can hear my feet against you

and pack you into a small white ball

and hold you against my skin—

until the heat of me makes you


Remember me on my stomach,

waiting at the moss edge?

Listening expectantly as you roared.

Call to Worship (I woke up to the cat pissing on my leg)

Like a reminder of Sunday school,

Sunday, September the 5th, 6:17am.

Passing of the Peace

Like a reminder that I am from

the dirt, and to the dirt I will return.

Prayer of Confession

(Time of reticent silence)

That I should not have touched myself last night,

that even my righteous acts are like filthy rags.

Promise of Forgiveness

You all, like sheep—

like my favorite pink blanket with a silk hem

stinking woolen, sopping on the bathroom floor

You all, like sheep have—

been pissed on by your mothers and fathers.

This concentrated, stockyard-yellow reality seeps

hot into my skin while the sheets tremble and click

in the washing machine, that mechanical waterfall.

She’s dying of liver failure, she’s jaundice, she cannot

eat or drink. Suddenly, I’m afraid she’s a portal to

another world sending messages with her eyes.

Suddenly, I’m paranoid, like sheep— cont.

have gone astray, each to your own way.

Return to your rest, oh my soul.

Please Stand

Play the harp! Strike the tambourine!

The cat pissed on you this morning!

I make coffee, I sit in the morning sun, my stomach

churns like the machine. A dog barks at me, suspicious

sharp eyes beneath the yard fence.

Pour out your hearts to Him in worship

And how is it that all I want is you, oh Lord of the Sabbath?

You who made me, who formed me in all the filthiness of

my mother’s womb, You who made the mountains with their

lions, the desert boulders with their teeth.

Join the anthem of all God’s people this morning in the words of the Psalmist, David

How long, Oh Lord?

How long, Oh Lord, your daughters, our babies—

How long, Oh Lord, will we fear the fowler’s snare?

my schizophrenic neighbor with all his knives

and bibles. You have crushed me with commands

I cannot meet. I cannot bear to fulfill your great commission.

Prayer of Petition

Please, take me up in your arms.

Press me to your neck, Oh God of my humanity?

We’re down here squirming in it, hacking up our depravity.

And even if my cry reached presidents, publishers

or television hosts, who could comfort me but You?

Abba, Papa.

Yahweh, breath of my body.

Lord of the living, and Lord of the dead.

Lapis Lazuli

I am the same             child, the same woman, infant bleeding again, weeping

again, seeing messages             beneath the kitchen counter, above the trampoline, in

the beads hanging from my             bedroom closet. I’m resting again on my side next to the

cat’s hot sleeping body;             recovering from fear, from insanity, from drunkenness, from

trying to fit too much             earth into my stomach, from lying and bad dreams.

Wolves in the basement,             rising water, endless waves. Every circle offers new

remembering and forgiving;             breathing in Lapis everywhere, Lazuli in everything.

My respite is the color blue             just below the silver pinions of the sun setting. That tangible

thickness, Lapis spirit—             the same that walked with me in London and slept

beside me when I bled into             the sheets I scrubbed to hang on the line, apologizing to

my hostess.             Tiptoeing into the wide bathroom, tiled and windowless.

To be with the blue I walked             the same slow and methodical steps as I did in

Montana. First year, crying for my             mother, begging to go back to that

secret place; the cabinet of her womb,             the sweetness of not yet being born

but still being alive. I drew a circle in the             snow covered windshield and found

blue again this evening, holding the rocks             and blackened cacti. Lazuli

encircles me, lying here,             as faithfully as my own womb breaks and bleeds

to obey the sky.                         They are the same yesterday and today,

circling always.

Elaine Greenwood is a Montana-born interdisciplinary artist working primarily in ceramics. Since graduating with her BFA in Fine Arts, she has worked as an art teacher, violin teacher and studio potter. Writing has been a constant and necessary part of Elaine’s life since her childhood. Elaine writes to “make some sense of the chaos and complexity of our humanity in relationship to the Divine.” Elaine’s portfolio and contact information is published at

Dotted Line