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

Savannah Grant

All My Lovers Wrens

And you scare them away

the part of you I let live in me

I leave you in no particular order

I sold one lover’s necklace for $25

and all my friends for a living room alone

             I want to steamroll

             over some collection of bones within me and start over

I wake up in my teenage bed

flowered wallpaper and a peeling window

after midnight and all the lights are on

and you’re awake

and my door won’t close

in my dreams lately

there’s a way out of the house

but you always find me before I escape

all my lovers wrens as I am a wren full of bird bones

and they only love me if I am seed or suet

my sister’s father a bird hunter

30 years and I only ever got

one foot out the door

             mother, I am your lamb, you slaughtered me

             sister, you are favored, your father spilled my blood in the long grass in the back forty

and wouldn’t talk to me in the car

and bellowed as the auger twisted into the pine by the compost pile

and built graves for all our dogs

To Paint a Black Drapery

To paint a black drapery is not

vine black squeezed from the tube, but lavender

shaded with olive

and so I saw in The Magpie the snow all but white

rose and ultramarine shadows

read Flannery O’Connor, she said, April

is the cruelest month, do you have any idea the damage

you did to your sister? and that I continue to do

driving you to the ocean or the Pioneer Valley

like my father picking Japanese beetles off the neighbor’s lilacs

all we wanted was more than two days

to finally make it west where the Nevada desert and I

held each other as cliff-sides and yellow grass rolled through July’s herald

like a screen door we tear

harboring promises that should have been easy

             and I didn’t know the word for it

             until that bend in the road

eighteen years he’d been waiting

when the Pacific was the farthest I’d ever been from her

all we asked was two days, another eighteen years, sister,

she made me wait for you

In the Time After Pestilence We Spin Fire

In the time after pestilence we spin fire on the lawn. The cops roll by and we all troop inside, dressed as pimps in late November, a month I used to hate. The party is good, I don’t get any of their numbers yet, but it’s okay, I wasn’t around before, even just this August. It happened in college. You leveled me. I wouldn’t speak anymore, if I did, it would be all I could speak about. (I barely remember the names of everyone who won’t know I ever sat at a table with them. I wish it hadn’t happened that way.) But this party is good. Someone in a pink mustache-print scarf agrees that the Apocalypse part of the Bible is terrifying. He is sober now, too. At the bar I draw an eight-eyed, eleven-winged angel: don’t think I never had these mundanities of friendship, I just couldn’t keep them after you. I think it’s worse that way. In the time after pestilence we all get our third eyes stuck on by a girl’s thumb. They quiver around when we laugh. I try to remember the names of everyone whose shoulders I decided not to lean on. I don’t yet know the names of everyone who doesn’t know about you. The cops rolled into your driveway. It was early August. The lights echoed around me into November, I cried on the steps. I cried on the steps. (A girl held out my laundry bag for me, trying to help. I wasn’t all there. I grabbed it away, washed my hands again and again. I don’t remember her name.) You were drunk and I held the bathroom door shut with my foot. The lights in my dreams never turn off, it all comes from your room. If I eat the pomegranate, I will remain in hell. You sit at the edge of my bed and your jaw falls open. For eleven years you contaminated everything—In the time after pestilence I go to sleep and dream about you on the edge of my bed and when I wake up no one is here. I take my foot off the door and it is morning. I go outside and we spin fire on the lawn.

Start Over

You asked me who was walking beside you

and, in July, I did not have an answer

it is August now, they all say you are over

but I am biking under apocalyptic sun, hazy and pale

yellow like the violets found only in one place

on one mountain

in one town I’ll never go back to

I am wondering if I miss my grandfather

or just that one corner of his yard

past the creek the water cut

from which I could see the high school

where I taught art to teenagers before leaving my mother for good

and she followed me all the way to you

             oh the ways I’ve been left on the floor

I am asking for barriers against grief

             and getting none of them

I am in the ocean surrounded by moon jellyfish

I am in the woods again

with a shotgun and shoes not fit for climbing over logs

             echoing over flagstones

I am living a life without you, with you

I am shedding skins

I am admitting my love

I am eating again

I am leaving when I can’t sleep and never

             been happier to drive home

I am spring peepers at night

I am renovated

I am in line at the grocery store

knowing full well I am unfurling with the violence

of daylilies in summer

Ever Since (v.2)

Ever since, and I cannot pinpoint

the exact time when it became you

but ever since

I’ve been dreaming

of accidentally setting my bedroom on fire

and it can’t be smothered; it smolders

under the carpet and in the dirt under the windows

I was never an option and I mourn that

you’d never mourn that

I am a body on your couch just like I wanted

but not how I wanted: you lift me away

and smile so sadly, as you do, daybreak eyes

the same way you did in my dream when you said

             not for a while

and moved your hands to a different girl

as if you’d announced a death

I find a white moth in a windowsill and keep it in my pocket: a reminder

of what I can never have

with you

I’m not protected from anything

there is no why

there is only is

when you dug your teeth into my spine

when you twined our fingers


as fuck

and told me to go home

when you calmed me to my core

I believed you

Savannah Grant lives in beautiful and serene western Massachusetts and cleans houses around the Pioneer Valley full-time. She is also a printmaker and poet, and has art hanging in several downtown galleries and has been published in Sixfold twice before. Her debut poetry chapbook, at the end of gospel, was recently published by Bottlecap Press, with more collections on the way.

Dotted Line