Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Fall 2013    fiction    all issues


Chris Joyner
Wrestlemania III
& other poems

Carey Russell
Visiting Hours
& other poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Cabinet of Wonders
& other poems

Jonathan Travelstead
Prayer of the K-12
& other poems

Jennifer Lowers Warren
Our Daughter's Skin
& other poems

Jeff Burt
The Mapmaker's Legend
& other poems

Patricia Percival
Giving in to What If
& other poems

Toni Hanner
& other poems

Christopher Dulaney
& other poems

Suzanne Burns
Window Shopping
& other poems

Katherine Smith
Mountain Lion
& other poems

Peter Kent
Surliness in the Green Mountains
& other poems

William Doreski
Gathering Sea Lavender
& other poems

Huso Liszt
Fresco, The Forlorn Virgin...
& other poems

Clifford Hill
How natural you are
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

David Kann
Dead Reckoning
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Music of As Is
& other poems

Tori Jane Quante
Creatio ex Materia
& other poems

G. L. Morrison
Baba Yaga
& other poems

Joe Freeman
In a Wood
& other poems

George Longenecker
Bear Lake
& other poems

Benjamin Dombroski
South of Paris
& other poems

Ryan Kerr
& other poems

Josh Flaccavento
Glen Canyon Dam
& other poems
& other poems

Christine Stroud
& other poems

Abraham Moore
Inadvertent Landscape
& other poems

Chris Haug
Cow with Parasol
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Fiberglass Madonna
& other poems

Emily Hyland
The Hit
& other poems

Sam Pittman
Growth Memory
& other poems

Alex Linden
The Blues of In-Between
& other poems

Bobby Lynn Taylor
& other poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Alia Neaton
Cosmogony I
& other poems

Elisa Albo
Each Day More
& other poems

Noah B. Salamon
& other poems

George Longenecker

Bear Lake

Just three lights shine on the opposite shore.

At ten the waxing moon is only a dim sliver,

the sky still too bright for me to see stars.

White pelicans fly low over the water,

their wings beating slowly, so close

I can hear feathers against air.

The stars brighten and the pelicans

are still flying as I fall asleep.

When I awaken after midnight

the Milky Way lights the sky to the horizon,

from Idaho south to the dry Utah hills.

A plane blinks red and a single

satellite moves east to west.

All the rest is stars.

I lie on the desert shore

watching stars who shone

billions of years ago.

Eons from now somebody

may be watching our star.

By then we’ll probably be gone;

maybe we’ll have blown ourselves away.

It’s hardly important to the Milky Way

whether one star shines—

but perhaps it matters

that twilight comes already at four

that across the lake a porch light comes on

that already the Milky Way is floating into dawn

that already one white pelican flies low over Bear Lake

perhaps it matters—

all the rest is stars.


A boy looks up at the gold-domed

mosque in Samarra as he does each morning—

it’s stood a thousand years, it’s reflected

the sun at dawn and dusk, it’s echoed

thousands of morning prayers. He falls

backward in the explosion, his head crushed

beneath a fragment of ancient mortar and gold.

Bricks scream through the air and obliterate

prayers. The blast shakes minarets

which sway and crack in the explosion.

One of his eyes looks left to the Euphrates,

the other to the Tigris, but he doesn’t see

gold leaf that rains down and shimmers in the sun,

doesn’t see dust that rises where the golden dome

had been. Blood trickles from his mouth;

who knows to which river it will flow.

I saw it in the news the next day—

but probably it’s already

been forgotten in the long history

of Babylon and America,

another small war,

not news anymore.

There’s prayer as sirens wail:

Return your artillery and blood

from the Tigris and the Euphrates,

reverse the explosions,

turn back the sunrise.

Return the child’s sight

so he may watch the golden dome of Samarra

come gleaming back in the morning sun.

Completely Full

As we board, the flight attendant announces

that our plane is completely full. I want to ask

how it can be more than full, for isn’t full by

nature complete? We leave Florida completely

full, next to me a mother and her young son.

Two hours later I’m jolted from my nap. The plane

bucks with turbulence, bounces, then brakes hard

as we land on the icy Newark runway. The whole

time the mother holds her son’s hand and leans

close against him. He says only it’s okay Mom.

It is this then, the taking of a child’s hand

that is more than full, more than complete.

He puts his other hand on hers.

We have landed and the plane taxis to the gate.

Salt and Sorrow

A kitchen in a residence in Aleppo, Syria damaged Sunday in fighting.

—Narciso Contresas photo, The New York Times

Walls are blackened, there’s a refrigerator

with rust at its bottom, stickers of yellow

butterflies and blackbirds on its door.

A dish towel hangs on the door handle

and atop sits a vase of purple paper flowers,

On shelves jars of spices still stand upright.

We can’t see what’s upright in the rest

of the home, if its power is on,

or if walls and windows are intact.

Charred ceiling plaster covers the floor,

no mortar shells or shrapnel though;

a jar of beans lies unbroken and a tiny drawer—

maybe for salt, we don’t know, but nobody

can live without salt or sorrow,

no matter where. On a lower shelf rest

three small pairs of sneakers—

we can’t see the children,

their parents or the photographer,

they must all be somewhere.

Outside—but outside is not in the picture—

we can’t hear if there are explosions and artillery fire.

On the wall hang pans, a strainer and measuring spoons.

Why do some things fall and not others?

All the utensils are blackened,

but we can’t tell whether from cooking

or just war. In a dish drainer cups dry;

they’ll need to be washed again

if the family returns—

if they live—their blackened

kitchen sent naked around the world.

Squeaky Fromme Remembers

I’m one of only a few women

who ever fucked Charlie Manson

I’m one of only two women

who tried to kill a president

I wore a red dress

the day I almost shot Ford

(I wish I’d shattered his head)

I loved the world’s most famous killer—

(I wish I’d been the one to stab Sharon Tate)

plunging deeper and deeper

deeper and deeper—oh Charlie

stab me like you did then—

I had him more

than Patricia or any of The Family

the year of my trial

I got more mail than Charlie

I was the only woman

ever to escape from Alderson

(but they caught me)

I’m free now

(parole sucks and I miss the food)

my photo’s in the Ford Presidential Museum—

you can Google me—

I get more hits than Charlie

(sometimes I’d like a hit of acid)

I did more drugs than Betty Ford

you know I was in a Broadway Musical?


the actress wore a red dress

I’m more famous than anyone in my family

than anyone in The Family

except Charlie

Charlie, Charlie

I’m free now

I almost assassinated the President, Charlie

I’ll come in my red dress

stab me, make me bleed

George Longenecker teaches history, poetry, and technical writing in the Department of English, Humanities and Social Sciences at Vermont Technical College. His recent poems have appeared in Memoir, Atlanta Review, and Santa Fe Review. He lives in Middlesex, Vermont, with his wife and poetry muse, Cynthia Martin. When he’s not writing and teaching, he hikes and skis in the Green Mountains.

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