Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2013    fiction    all issues


Sharron Singleton
Five Poems

Sarah Giragosian
Five Poems

Jenna Kilic
Five Poems

Kristina McDonald
Five Poems

Toni Hanner
Five Poems

Annie Mascorro
Five Poems

Brittney Corrigan
Three Poems

S. E. Hudgens
Four Poems

Ali Doerscher
Four Poems

David Sloan
Three Poems

Olivia Cole
Five Poems

Lucy M. Logsdon
Four Poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Four Poems

Donna Levine Gershon
Five Poems

Eva Heisler
The Olden Days

Stephanie Rose Adams
Five Poems

Jill Kelly
Five Encounters

Ben Bever
Five Poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Five Poems

Arlene Zide
Three Poems

Harry Bauld
Five Poems

Lisa Zerkle
Four Poems

Peter Mishler
Five Poems

Tim Hawkins
Five Poems

Marqus Bobesich
Four Poems

Abigail Templeton-Greene
Five Poems

Eric Duenez
Five Poems

Anne Graue
Five Poems

Susan Laughter Meyers
Five Poems

Peter Kahn
Two Poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Linda Sonia Miller
The Kingdom

Nicklaus Wenzel
Skagit River

Holly Cian
Five Poems

Susan Morse
Five Poems

Daniel Lassell
Five Poems

Svetlana Lavochkina
Temperate Zones

Daniel Sinderson
Three Poems

Catherine Garland
Five Poems

Michael Fleming
Five Poems

Stephanie Rose Adams


To live indeed is to be again our selves

—Sir Thomas Browne

I did my best to cheat the windows

in that plaque of hours just before my turn,

seeing round eye flit and glare through the starry knit,

not starlike but with a thick, opposing absence.

Thin as thread in a grey

bulk of body, I sang myself

a cradle song to float me through the hours:

I believe, I do believe

this is how the child dies

in us: turning colors like the leaves,

a red confetti to deceive us.

And finally tucked into the mouths

of loam it leaves us—to an empty house.

Listen for it:

I remember the hammer

falling in the kitchen.

Then beak and eye and a red surgeon’s glove:

a rude reaching into body

and tearing out that threshold

I hadn’t meant to lose—

coming at me with its red head raw

like a turkey vulture—

A schism.

Then my molted faces hinged back

into the jambs and the sunk spurs

pulled away, so I was human.

And the injury transmuted

to a faint ache in the skull.

Sparks drew the table-flowers down

into the candles

and the borders darkened:

I awoke to the dining room,

dressed, fed, hands occupied with mail.

I awoke to myself bereft

of waking, still missing the

beady hour of birth.

My chores doubled and balked

in domestic circuits; I sang a song

to the sink:

Life is a movement toward arrangement of a scene.

A red cloth. An apple. A cut stem

for the vase. For the knock at the door,

for the knock at the door.

There comes a time

when one gives herself completely

to the black-soaked cosmos

and so I stood still

in the room,

emptied of spirit,

for I had given it all away:

even the table was set with blank circles:

not like moons

but the absence of moons:

It was a Tuesday—

I walked heavy with its collar at my neck

to the window.

Here I am to be seen

in a yellow gown thickened to the skin,

carrying death, it seems.

Roses at the knees.

Like coming from a bath

to the mirror, I sensed the whiteness of steam

and a gathered heat:

Stalled things snapped from their bases

spindrift and open; I could smell

the brute perfume of—

O something else beside me

in the surge: her rising

throat in my throat, her fulvous lights

so much like Autumn (all of it,

the black slick rot of it, the whole sleet road

after rain, boot-soft, the breeze and crimson

sheafs of it) and her haunching out of fog:

                        what thing

—as with a horse’s bludgeoning thighs

and rippling with bloom, I could do nothing

but stand beside the bust of gates

and see how the wind itself tore like a soft lizard’s egg:

          what thing

                                 art thou?

what eyeless head

with gazes of the past all about it like light,

pushed out

with beady look and smell of

my own flesh, for I’d carried and carried it—

then there was the privacy of stone.

Between us:

a mineral crush, and heat,

an eon like a slow breath

circled our meeting and I bowed to it,

and she bowed to nothing and was the plain

ecstasy of being, ever,

and after—

I could smell the turned earth

in my hands, and for this

I could not, not ever, diminish.

Bury My Hands in the Earth

First the thing and then its accidents

The brood conjuring of walking

into the lord’s tower

A constellate purr of part against part

humming down the

earth-hacked way unborn

And scuff of wings

in the rough-hewn walls

The future passage

like a widow’s eye rolling back light

down the tunnel—


do you think you enter the dark?

You will bear it yourself

with the blindness of hands

to your dusky head for opening:

Split the thousand grains of self

Turn out the thorax

her multiple honeyed cores

          and look again:

from the fracturing eye

which tessellates to eyes

and proliferates further

out from that dimension

to the eyeless spaceless

          cramp of yearning

          and opens further

          beyond telling

And look:

how the round planet will suddenly open

her nearness, within you:

What shook magnet will shoot up the shafts

and gravity’s hands

to root between the loose chunk loam

of your pieces, saying:

                         stay, stay

sparing you whole in a buzzing sack

of song:

The strains breaking weave against the wing

—to say chrysalid

The pupils strung to leonids

—to say swarm

And deep tremors of a skull

so given to god

                      —to say sting

The Women

Just as the women had warned,

I had seen phantoms in the gardens

after wearing the tears of a dog.

Baptized twice in half-caste doberman illness,

around me the temple dusts glittered

on the lost remains of small and extinguished desires,

such objects spat with gums and slag.

My eyes lifted to a shroud suspended on high wire—

it took on suddenly the tic and fit of struggle,

took on damage and discolor,

calling to me only in its highness,

reach beyond the range of arms,

a moan hectares in length.

Then too, in dense brume of anesthesia,

there was one who rose in sheets

and spoke the dreams of Gaia,

making worm-holes through the fibers.

The earth bucked beneath the night, as sung:

The wailing one walked from one shook fountain to the next.

In Delhi or in Marrow

You are standing upright in sixteen atmospheres.

Otherwise, there is merely the light

which crumples that darkness down to your feet.

Once, your body was in savage hands, unworshipped.

Though lately it’s a boulder, geodic and poised

over the tiny carapaces of six dwindling men—

The searing presence of your planet.

It matters little who was witness and who was not.

I myself was not there, in Delhi,

and yet you’ve reached your hands through the fabrics and

lifted the dams to make me see you:

In that hour of suffering

your continents groaned; their plates crushed the minutes

and folded their blood away; their stars revolved

like a constellation at the tops of our skulls.

The violet burn of everything touching everything else.

Such figures of the night, such difficult reading.

Can you know how much I carry you?

You are past knowing.

I’ve carried you straight out from the story.

Now I keep you like I keep my bones.

A Mirror to See Me

Here is me.

          A pearl

oblong blur, hung on a silver dish.

What are you, me,

if not the viridian, nether,

a swimminghole—

(a vapor that

          collects in emptiness)


Light is sliding on a surface.

What is wavering in and out of time,

is it me?

          Is it

a white chester drawer:

between scarves and folds

                   is my past

and several more besides:

          our histories coil

and bite savagely at their tails


tight behind that symmetry

          of doll form: rouge

egyptian eye, spice, demure—


How the borders seem

                   to cry

          And yearning for a snap of husk:

My print-dress

muddied with the animal

synod of my ecstatic family,

is to be burned

for warmth.


O release

this tesserae of stinging blooms,

anemone, these mollusk arms of me,

shapes like nothing

you or I have ever known:

I am not ever what I am.

Should I be me,

I’ll take the ocean for my looking-glass.

Stephanie Rose Adams is the author of The Sundering, chosen by Linda Gregg for a NY Chapbook Fellowship from The Poetry Society of America. Her poems have appeared in The Boston Review, Sharkpack Poetry, and Orion Magazine. Stephanie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her wayward Guatemalan pup and a host of other willful creatures real and imaginary.

Dotted Line