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

Belinda Roddie

Daughter of Pasiphae

How did you feel, love, when I found

the lipstick drawn in mazes on the bathtub

like labyrinths dragged across the tile

until they melted into crimson wax

against the Minotaur’s smile? Did

you find comfort in the color, in the

temporary tattoo? Did it tickle your

fancy to see your cosmetics staining

the rudimentary body of the basin,

which lifted its pelvis upward on clubbed

feet, limping its way to the nearest wall?

Art is meant to be seen, and this femme

display brings back your father’s migraine.

What would he say to this, this modern

canvas left to suffocate with crushed carnauba

congealing in its mouth? Or did you, perhaps,

want him to find it, too, much to your sense

of humor—much less to your mother’s

sense of shame? Crete be damned.

I did not wipe away the offending

residue until you had a chance to

admire your masterpiece. Your hair

still wet from the kitchen sink. Your hands

soft like clay after so much scrubbing

against running water. You wore mascara

like curtains over your face, only

drawing them apart for the occasional

first act of tears that threatened

to compromise your personal

cabaret. You left beads on the carpet, so

I could step on them and make them pop

like little plastic planets disrupted in their

orbit around a Holbein sun, its red and gold

rays stretched outward like a scarab beetle

stuck on its back and exposing its belly to

an uncaring world. You sketched

portraits in eyeliner on your

arms and legs, the vessel dipped in black

like charcoal, charred horns and ebony

bulls leaving scattered hoof prints, like

lust, fading against your own calves

and knees. Yes, I am sure you felt great

pride when I found the lipstick drawn

in mazes on the bathtub. Your brother

the beast sleeps in its enameled maw.

I look away from its dreams and seize

the golden thread that leads me from the

labyrinth, where by the cold and narrow

entrance, you already wait for me.

Bless The Bones Of California

These days are getting short enough

to chew on. You can feel the sunsets

swelling right on your molars, melting

like butter in between your lips. On the side

of the road, a dirt scarred truck

sits on a lopsided slope. One headlight

is gouged out, like a wandering eye

ripped out of its metal socket.

Deep in the fields of Cotati,

you can drink the September heat

like soup still in its can, the salt boiled

away, leaving only the cream to scald

your mouth after the first sip. Only a few

neighborhoods away, the fires have taken

everything. Our relatives are left with

silhouettes of ash, but we still have

our house, our two acres, our banalities.

I can hear your boots assault the

skeletons of leaves on the patio outside. I am

old enough to understand the profanity

that you use to button up your

one-size-too-small shirt.

You are young enough to still carry me

on your shoulders, but once it gets dark

too quickly, your shadow weighs

us both down, and the North Bay swallows

us up in its maw until the sunrise

is cool enough to eat with a spoon.


There were days when scratching

numbers into the leaves was all we had,

and counting the stars was comforting

because we didn’t have to worry about

how many there were, or how many of them

would submit to the cold inferno above

our ill-conceiving eyes.

The end of an era.

That was before we cared

about dynasties.

That was before

we carried around our names on staves

and pounded the need for recognition into

faceless marble. Before we gave ourselves

the sign of the cross because we feared

that the air we breathed would suck away

our dignity, or our newly minted,

false divinity. We thought

the robes we wore were proof

that we deserved the freedom of immortality,

and that the right color, when donned

properly, spared us from premature death

and artificially grafted omens on

metal as thin as paper, and as hot

as the volcanic ash we studied in school.

The professor insisted that we be capable

of holding our destinies in our own hands.

Far, far harder times had been wrought

before we etched our anxieties

into the tombstones we kept hidden

in our attics. We always locked the doors,

too. That way, we could pretend

that we didn’t have tombstones at all.

The most difficult part is that,

when I leave the bricks tumbling behind me

in the morning, red as the lack of hope,

I find no passion in scraping

a lucky seven into the raw vein

of a tree’s autumn locks. The stuff is

so brittle, and the colors so faded, because,

the more I think about it, the more this world,

riddled with the faulty desire to feel more alive,

turns further into an impending supernova.

Belinda Roddie is a writer, educator, voice actor, and LGBTQ+ activist residing in the California East Bay. They have written a multitude of different works, including novels, poetry, plays, and screenplays. They are one of the co-founders and artistic directors of the online theatre company OK Zoomer and continually dabble in music and acting. Belinda currently lives with their wife, Arden, and their cats Binx and Gunner.

Dotted Line