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

Writer's Site

grace (logan)

Where does love rest?

Love is that moment when

The body softens into the soul

And the mind turns into rain pattering from the gutters after a storm.

Dripping onto the pavement

That may be saturated;

But the streams fall into the cracks,

Where the worms rest beyond eyesight.

I file up the walkway when you’re away,

Open the door and

You’re the light switching on at the end of the night.

You’re the shadows under the staircase as I creep to bed.

You’re the thoughts in my head as I’m getting undressed asking myself

“What’s next?”

You’re the feeling of safety as I wrap the sheets around me.

You’re the fire in my belly as inspiration hits.

Hours pass when I should have been asleep.

You’re that relenting acceptance laughing

“You can think of poems in the morning.”

But my mind is stubborn

I go into the Notes App and write a line so

This one

Isn’t lost into the ether of night’s end.

You’re the Sun waking me up on a day I don’t need to set an alarm.

Through the cracks in the curtains

You still seep in.

Reminding me the bed is cozy

But the world is waiting—

Not for me—

I’m waiting around to take part in it.

Because this is the most beautiful time of day

Beauty where you don’t have to say anything

When you hit the leaves and glisten like a chandelier . . .



Am I idealizing?

You are not my light

And I am not the darkness you fill.

Not only is that dependent



It’s a simplistic dualism.

You bring balance,

But I am not an extreme.

It’s a disservice to the both of us

To make you the in-between moments—

The ones that glue life together—when

You’re the times when I marvel at the force of the monsoon

Instead of intellectualizing my way around it.

But I am soaked.

I need to get home before I catch another cold.

You’re in each moment—

The underpinning—

The tether that reminds me of who I am and where I came from without seeing it.

No map needed:

Left up ahead.

Looking through the window from the outside

I realize I left the light on.

The shadows creeping show me you’ve come home.

And the door is unlocked because you saw me running up.

You meet me in the doorway exclaiming:

“Why didn’t you bring a rain jacket or check the weather?”

“I was floating . . .”

You laugh in that way you’re giving space,

Not taking it.


What’s next?

Fresh clothes and a few hours explaining our days.

We weren’t there for either of our respective moments

But with the distance gained

In our words and nods

We are cultivating

An us

Between where our eyes have met.

Not the in-between

But the resting place.

After laughs and tears your head rests on my chest with silence.

You don’t know how my past felt—

Nor I yours—

But we listened in the present.

Is that my heartbeat melding with yours or is thunder cracking?

Even when the rain gets louder

And down a bolt comes knocking trees,

And the lights start to flicker

Until they go out entirely,

I’ll start holding your hand as we find the candles.

Because this may be fleeting

But you remind me

Life exists with both my feet on the pavement

And we can create something step-by-step

In the soft mud beyond eyesight.


The desert isn’t desolate:

A western idea to assume

If processes aren’t obvious

They’re unimportant.

The saguaro isn’t stunted

Because it grew a few inches in ten years.

It’s gradual—

Not incremental

Like 2050 goals in a twenty-year drought—

It’s emergent

Like the blooms fruiting then falling to the ground without harvest;

The wind carrying a seed to the safety of a Palo Verde’s canopy;

One monsoon balancing a summer of 110s.

An ecosystem’s interactions are not superficial:

Microbes beneath the soil mean as much as the Sun.


False scarcity:

A learned habit of always looking for purpose outside of me.

Who knew all this time

Abundance was the current inside that underpinned this life?


Not mindlessly expansive to no end.

This isn’t a buzzword to excuse

Unhinged individualism.

Abundance rests in the learned responsibility to live every moment

Unhindered by grief,

Or, really, giving the room to also let love and trust in.

After the breeze softens

The grass continues to

Oscillate and when it

Nears a stop

A bird lands on a stalk to peck at its capsules.

Personally, I’ve been learning thoughts create action,

And with a reorientation I am

Examining what it means to feel worthy in place.

I’m letting go of second guesses—

I pose the question then

“One two three GO!”

What was that first thought?

Quiet and unsuspecting before drowned out

By a loud

“Should have.”

Actions then create habits,

So I am reevaluating

And challenging my lack of trust that bred self-destruction—

With a few motions to go—

I contemplate sober behind the remnants of smoke.

“It’s not as bad as it used to be!”

There goes a rationalization

Lacking compassion towards grief.

I am recalibrating to step into the careful consideration of

Forming discipline—

Self-awareness embodied in self-assurance.

Habits reap character,

And although fundamentally unchanged,

I have shedded much of the armored exterior.

Trading flight for settledness—

If I stop running,

If I savor this moment instead of extrapolating it’s a memory,

I’m sure the landscape will have details I couldn’t have noticed

Inferred from quick glances out of my peripheral vision.

Character then forms a destiny—


That doesn’t define me.

Accumulated . . .

I am trudging through the high grass

With gentle steps to not disturb the poppies.

I want to smash their centers but,

Deep breathe,

That’s a story for another poem.

The silence has seeped into my marrow,

But I’ve heard that’s the most nutritious,

When it simmers into broth.

I’m not defined by what’s been blown through my body,

I’m impacted by residual remnants but—

God damnit—

I am releasing the tension and

Making a feast to transform the harvest.

So now, I’m ready to look outside—

I stop on instinct—

But I am no longer hiding behind inhibition:

Let intuition lead.

Patience to see the robustness of the hues playing with the tips of South Mountain

Rather than tapping my foot viewing it the Sun’s obligation to touch the horizon.

I am ruled by vitality,

Not autopilot,

But there’s still this funny balance

Of having enough self to feel centered

And a lack of that sense to feel connected.

“When does internal scarcity end?”

“When you allow yourself love.”

Then the pupil opened

And I could finally see

All that I didn’t trust in, out, and beside me.


It gets hard when sustainability floats

Used as a buzzword to prove a makeshift point.

When Tesla becomes sustainability

We are so completely and utterly fucked.

But with driverless electric cars

We can jack ourselves off without even needing to look at the road ahead of us

Or even admire the scenes passing.

We can fill up without the smell of gasoline tinging us with guilt because—

Rest assured -

The emissions are coming from a grid that’s on the path to integrate solar

By the time the sea reaches here.

And the battery burped out the emissions a gas car does

In one manufacturing.

Polluting waterways on lands we will never see

That were never ours to own to begin with.

It gets hard when sustainability floats

Through words that turn bandaid solutions into a stitched answer;

Spoken loudly by someone who, say,

Gained unimaginable wealth from their parent’s apartheid emerald mine.

So if it floats it’s hollow.

Let’s lull ourselves into complacency to not feel the heaviness,

The weight of a hope becoming a “someday” without a strategy to reach it.

Because we cannot belong to a strategy,

Only a culture.

Indulge until all there is to see are our hands.

Survive by using each finger to pay the bills

And after

The palms can have penciled-in me-time.

Because looking at the deeper issue seems a little too pointed.

Accessible, free public transit is just a symptom

And so is the lobbying power of oil and gas

Talking about our car-centric culture with bike lanes in the middle of the road is getting a little closer

Because at the end of the day it is fueled by the idea that


Deserve to get in

And go wherever I please

On the highways that go anywhere

Over the buried houses of lives and families.

And after a day of surviving


Deserve to treat myself

And not look outside to the heavy root

We have abandoned because the twist and turns

Have turned into a tangle, not a web.

I need the rest when I have been out there in the nooks

Or in this Tesla I am too fragile in these four walls to feel the crannies.

It gets hard when

The built infrastructure regurgitates

The soft kind.

All those norms and assumptions

That go unquestioned

But are constructed into trajectories



Am comfortable with what is known and seen.

When graffiti under freeway underpasses

Become a nuisance to property

And not a beautiful resistance

There is a missed opportunity for the unseen symbolism

Of claiming space to say

“I was here”

In a home that was never ours to own to begin with.

If it floats

It’s probably on a wire transfer

Receiving the notification on the Tesla dashboard

Just as we finish in the handkerchief.

When indulgence becomes placation,

When my life becomes separate from yours

And our intersections are constructed on a groove that takes

Efforted steps to get out of

We will listen to the woman’s voice

(Is it generated or recorded?)

Instead of looking around for ourselves to know

“You are approaching . . .”

How hollow our world has become.

Led to this layered beige box with four walls

Pulling into the garage to our assigned spot.

And in our assigned chairs

We don’t look each other in the eyes

And even if we did

We will be that fake kinda happy in the iris’ glaze.



Am doing great.

I am doing swell.

Floating instead of thinking

Or intuiting

Or connecting

Or hoping for anything beyond grasp.


I think my fire has gone out.

It sure feels that way

When flames have turned to embers

And embers have faded into smoke.

I think my fuel source is changing.


The fire sure felt alive

When I was throwing pine needles

A big flame conflated with healthy maintenance

Maintaining stagnancy and a smoke blowback

I inhaled instead of dealing with the ash collecting under the embers.

I think I need to blow in a different spot,

Rather than poking at the same ember until it crumbles.

I haven’t stopped trying

I am rekindling with consistency

I am expecting nothing but patience

As I lay each stick in an intentional place.

I think my fire has a different definition.

It sure feels that way

When growth has been embodied in new action

And action is fueled with authentic dynamism.

grace (logan) received their Masters in Sustainability Solutions from Arizona State University. Slowly but surely, they have begun to unite their reflective prose with their academic training. This is their first publication of poems. They feel honored and humbled to be included in this issue, and to have received wonderful feedback from fellow writers. They live in Tempe, AZ with their partner, a fluffy brown cat, and plans to pursue a PhD.

Dotted Line