Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2023    fiction    all issues


Susan Wilkinson

Selena Spier
Red From The West
& other poems

Pamela Wax
Talk Therapy
& other poems

Ana Reisens
Honey Water
& other poems

Mark Yakich
Necessary Hope
& other poems

Bridget Kriner
A Few Lies & a Truth
& other poems

Keegan Shepherd
Silver Queen
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich
Sacred Conflagration
& other poems

George Longenecker
Those Who Hunger
& other poems

Hailey Young
Ball Room
& other poems

Sébastien Luc Butler
& other poems

Savannah Grant
Ever Since (v.2)
& other poems

grace (logan)
& other poems

Samantha Imperi
A Poem for the Ghosted
& other poems

Corinne Walsh
& other poems

Kayla Heinze
Stop checking the score
& other poems

Richard Baldo
Chasing Through to Dawn
& other poems

Alex Eve
A moment
& other poems

Robert Michael Oliver
Prison Hounds
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich

Saving Seeds

Amazing, how a little seed

can turn a girl into a wise woman.

I look closely, at all your possibility

and perfect form

and see the past, your mother

that perfect sunny day I worked the earth

loosened the dirt

added the manure

and placed her with the others

in a perfect circle, a five point star

covered her up and added water

to start the transformation

to tell her the ingredients were right

to reach out into the earth

and pull in pieces to weave into herself

to take earth and air and make something more than a sum of the parts.

I look at all the seeds she gave me

from just one large orange fruit

some now covered with oil and salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic

roasted and ready to become part of me,

some raw and drying, waiting for next year.

I marvel at the magic of the multiplication

makes me raise my hands, my head, my heart

makes me dance as they go down, the roasted ones

makes me want to make tea

and a poem

and light a candle, my ceremony for inspiration.

Makes me think of my mother

and the magic she makes

how she heals me, every time she feeds me

how she takes common ingredients, lets them simmer

and finishes with something more than a sum of the parts.

Makes me think of your grandmother, or great grandmother

I watched her grow, as a child

and helped her become

as she did me.

I remember the way my heart leapt when she first emerged

like freedom, and heaven, warm and wild

remember the sting of mosquitos if I watered at dusk

remember the reprieve from the world she offered

a timeless space, where everything was right.

They taught me how to work with the earth—our mothers, and grandmothers

taught me how to be quiet and listen

how to stand tall

how to receive

how to take common ingredients, like these words

and make a masterpiece.


I can almost feel

(I can feel)

the skin of my face

sitting a little lower than it used to.

And I can almost hear

the earth


for this body back


gravity is love.

Someday, Earth Mother

take me back

into your womb

and make me new again.

Let me simmer

close to you

and grow like a good poem

not forced

but fed

with hope

in my own time.

Brush your long hair

and dream of what I will become.

Warming Up

I like to inspect my pencil before I write

to see the way the light shines on its dark tip

on its many curves and angles of

sparkling graphite.

I like to feel the soft fuzz of its shaved part

to slide my fingers up and down the length of it

so hard and smooth that I giggle at

this Cra-Z-Art.

And I wonder who else has touched it

and if anyone has ever looked at it the way I have

with thoughtful doe eyes

curious for its story

of where it’s been and how it came to be.

I notice so many markings

a large gouge on one side, and two smaller ones

exposing the flesh colored body

beneath the orange coat of paint.

And I feel its depressions, little valleys

and I wonder what forces it caved under.

I see its silver cap is a little misshapen

a little bit scruffy.

It’s almost free of its #2 label

that has all but worn off

and its surface has many lines, some deeper than others.

I add 3 lines, in the shape of my initial.

I cannot help myself, but to leave my mark on him also.

This wise old man has many secrets to tell

like me

so I take him in hand and begin

to write.


I wonder how pearls are made

as the oceans in my eyes rise

too full

trickling tear shaped pearls when I close them.

I wonder what ingredients the clam takes in.

And I suppose when he is open

he takes in the whole ocean

and maybe when he is closed

is when he makes the magic happen.

I picture a clam

burying himself

in the sand

under the weight of all that water

in all that pressure,

making a rare treasure

layer by layer

on a vexation stuck inside.

I wish that I too could bury myself

beneath the ocean

away from the world

and maybe make some magic happen.

I think about the hard things stuck in me.

The pains of loss; of empty cages,

and desks,

and hearts, who trusted you.

A small yellow gecko body turned bones

mouth wide

screaming into death


A classroom pet who knew not about quarantine,

cared not about missing keys.

A 13 year old boy

with red hair and freckles and work boots

and a smile that hid desolation.

There is so much I could have told him.

So much I should have asked.

He asked for a broom to clean the dirt he brought in

but was given a test instead

on his last day to live.

A horrible fail.

A deep, defining, horrific fail

of a teacher who did not know about making a right decision

instead of a right decision.

He knew not about cells,

he knew about hopelessness.

Despair and confusion on the faces and voices of 20 children

times 5 classes a day

day after day

staring at the weight of empty at that desk, and in the cage, and their hearts.

They trusted you

and you did not save them.

Even your own heart

put on hold, year after year, still making the right decision

instead of the right decision.

I go over this again and again,

all the what ifs,

until I cannot hold it in.

And I think about the women

who dive for pearls

whose whole livelihoods depend on it

who trained their bodies to hold their breath for 6 minutes

or more.

And I think about the pain I am polishing

asking me to find a way.

Sacred Conflagration

I turned the light on

in my soul

and inspected my pencil:

cedar wood, graphite core,

place of origin—obscure

(but Earth, I’m quite sure)

and lit my candle, “made in the USA” stuck on its front.

But the flame—not of Earth, other worldly

it crackled

and danced

and said:

“The alchemist, inspecting her wand

found the light


from the many facets of its tip

as she spun it, slowly

and pushed back its sheath

of wood.

To bring her fantasy to life,

to make a little magic,

they needed each other

her heart and the rock, in the wand,

to transcribe

to translate.

She held me closer

with soft eyes.

I lit up her face

my reflection dancing in her eyes

she closed them and breathed me in

held me to her chest

tipped her head back

and opened her heart—

where I met my maker—

a sacred conflagration


like a lion

we merged into one flame

dancing together

hoping the whole world

would catch on.”

Alaina Goodrich is a nature loving, wonder seeking, music making mama and teacher. She has had poems published in Sixfold’s Winter 2021 issue; she is grateful for all who participate and give such meaningful feedback. She loves noticing the miraculous in all things and contemplating existence. She is excited to see where this wild journey takes us all in the coming years.

Dotted Line