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

Kaecey McCormick

Meditation Before Monsoon

Ancient saguaro lift their arms

praying to the full moon rising

behind the jagged peaks.

Wild-cotton clouds spread lacey

skirts over an ink-stained sky

as a lone howl rings in nightfall.

A chorus of coyotes responds

as crepuscular waves of heat

carry the clacking of unseen beetles

and the earthy scent of creosote

—a harbinger of coming rain.

A south wind rushes over dry surf

untethering crispy leaves to scuttle

with stripe-tailed scorpions over pebbles

and sun-bleached bones in moonlight

shining earthbound stars on the desert floor.

The great-horned owl rouses from its perch

in the wispy Palo Verde, lifting his feathery sails

to fish in this red sea that is anything but dead.

The movement stirs dusty air overhead

as I stand on this dry shore where the ocean

of hard-packed clay meets the edge

of man’s cemented trail.


six and a half miles above the earth

give or take

I see stretches of untouched earth

still wild, still moving in the wind

or with the shifting plates

still drying up in summer

still flooding under the monsoon

I see spots of civilization

tumors snaking out tentacles

of asphalt and wood-and-metal ties

linking one to the next

multiplying like kudzu covering trees

expanding in uneven clusters of cement

spreading like a stain across the land

accelerating the disease

shaking in a tin can

seatbelt strapped tight

we begin our descent

and I watch this tumor swell

what if we kept rising instead?

six miles becomes twelve

becomes twenty-four

becomes forty-eight

then we’re crossing the Karman line

soaring into a cancer-free zone

while those around me grip the arm rests

celebrate the safety in the crust of the planet

I lift my feet and hands to the sky

On learning it’s back

after Mary Oliver

I ran away

from the truth of your cancer

like a beaten dog

into the woods

whispering your name

to the wind

I watched the leaves fall

waiting for the world to end

but the wind kept moving toward night

and the waning gibbous moon

witnessed it all in silence

I carried myself over cracked earth

to the top of a rocky hill

to see the caps of the bay

cast in the evening’s silver light

but the fog was too thick

a juvenile eagle waited there

perched on a snag

watching me and the moon each

with an unblinking eye

as unmoved by my tears

as by the moon’s detached hovering

in the distance

the creek trickled into the reservoir

over pebbles and grass

crooning a low lullaby

to put the day to sleep

I sat next to a rotting log beneath the eagle

listened to the bugs burrow below the fallen leaves

and in the decaying wood

I told them about you

and they whispered their understanding—

they know about the inevitability of the end

they too long to stretch out each moment

to find eternity in the spaces between

where everything

even the multiplying of cells


but time presses on

and like me they had to get back—

to you

to life

to the tasks that need doing

so they promised to carry you with them

back into the divine vibration of creation

and set you free to rise like starlight



ever moving

with a final prayer

your name on my tongue

I rose

carrying grief as heavy as the bottom of the reservoir

back home

Mind swing

The downswing, the low ground,

the zenith at the bottom took all of me—

I could not think of them, if I could think at all.

I could not hold their hearts in my mind,

warm them by the evening fire, and return them

whole and loved.

Instead, I pressed my back into the cold wall

and prayed to the dead gods for this thing in my mind

to swallow me—skin, bones, innards, and all.

That’s how it is at the bottom.

Empty. Dark.

But never empty enough.

Never the deep dark of death.

Just the low, dim light of madness,

the kind that makes it impossible to see

where I am and who I’m becoming—

if I’m becoming at all.

And then,

like all things,

it changes.

The bottom tips and I begin to rise.

The upswing starts and pulls me in the other direction.

As my legs extend in front of me,

toes pointed to the heavens, hands wrapped tight

around ropes suspended from an invisible frame,

I throw back my head in childlike ecstasy,

swinging toward paradise.

I see them from the corner of my eye,

arms outstretched toward my back,


Kaecey McCormick is a writer and artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poetry has found a home in different literary journals, including Red Earth Review, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and The Raw Art Review and her chapbooks Pixelated Press (Prolific Press, 2018) and Sleeping with Demons (Finishing Line Press, 2023). When not writing, you can find her climbing a mountain or curled up with a book and a mug of hot tea.

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