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

Tim Hawkins

Letter to a Distant Friend

A sack of coffee freshly roasted,

socked away among a couple of loaves,

and on the stove a pan

ready for steaming milk;

not much else,

a bit of cheese, some drops of oil.

But to have this, the potential

for another few contented hours,

I’m beginning to understand

why you kept your things so closely guarded,

and why you lingered so

in the delight of preparation,

how folding socks was no chore

and tea could be made

only with your full attention,

how much you expressed

in the deliberate pauses we took for granted

as an excuse to smoke.

“I want to write . . . because I love making things,”

you admitted once, pausing to light another one

as we awaited the craft of your storytelling.

Forgive me for bumming smokes

and for asking:

Where is it?

What have you made?

At your leisure, when you are ready,

make me a poem of peach pie

or Hong Kong girls walking arm-in-arm

on a warm harbor night.

And after some reflection I will fix coffee,

taking in the full measure

with all deliberate haste.

Just Now

Just now, after a day spent

retouching scarred decades

of scuff marks on a hardwood floor,

after a day spent repairing generations

of gouges inflicted on sturdy joists and beams

once hoisted on strong, nineteenth-century backs,

admiring, all the while, the legacy 

of sound masonry and stately molding

wrought by precise and careful handiwork;

just now, taking a break

on a late afternoon in early summer,

I look out through the plate glass

of this centuries-old storefront

and witness the rarest and finest of showers:

a sun-dappled burst from nowhere

against a backdrop of robin-egg

blue and rose-colored sky.

Every age perfects its own handiwork

and leaves a masterpiece of flint, obsidian, stone

bronze, iron, marble

plutonium or silicon.


so much sudden, wanton, cruel

maddening beauty abounds,

that each generation runs out of time

before it can really even

begin to describe

a sun-dappled burst from nowhere

or the first blush of a maiden’s cheek.

Burn and Linger

I won’t want any of this to be about me, per se.

In the beginning I’ll want to just disappear

into another continent, into another culture,

to submerge myself into centuries of tradition

like fleets of ancestral fishermen crossing a treacherous reef.

But after a while, I suppose I’ll also want to burn,

at least a little.

I’ll want to smolder

like paper money stoked for the comfort of my ancestors,

like a waking god hoisted on the shoulders of my acolytes,

and to flow through the scene

like the smoke of joss sticks drifting from a temple,

like a flaming boat built solely for the burning.

And of course, after all is said and done,

I’ll want to linger.

I’ll want to remain like the scent of lemongrass

after you have walked a moonlit trail,

the shy water buffalo calf trailing after,

but not like the bone clattering of bamboo

announcing its exaggerated growth.

I’ll long to awaken

on the temple steps at dawn,

with something plucked and desired

in hand.

A plum, perhaps

—delicious, dark and cool to the touch—

or something else that burns

and lingers through a ripe

and darkening age.

The Eclipse

The early evening light leaves the room discreetly

as if a second skin is expected to arrive,

and a periodic rustling of air

slips through the beige curtain

to pass over the prone, naked body

like the inspired breath of lips.

When darkness finally settles in,

the ice in a glass has melted

and the liquid is warm as blood

where a ring has formed

on the dark, solid wood of the night table,

on which grows a faint scent like ferns

in the loam of the forest floor.

For a boundless, solitary moment, the body,

at perfect equipoise, without hunger or desire,

grows womblike within the desolate confines

of its hairless planes and slackening breath.

But before the darkness can even pass

there begin the first, faint, telltale stirrings

of the spirit, a desire to anthropomorphize

the motives of light and air

and a need to outlast and exhaust

the perfect moment,

a self-awareness provoked

perhaps, by the proximity

of blood and ferns,

a primal awakening inspired

and informed by


Animal Planet

While we bow our heads to the ground

and our hearts seek meaning among the stars,

wild creatures assert their presence

in the here and now

and the just here and gone.

Unknowable in the way one speaks

of the alien and other-worldly,

the title to their kingdom is forged

in their absolute

manifestation of the flesh.

If this seems ironic and abstract,

then so be it.

For irony and abstraction

are our great gifts—

not to the world, but to ourselves—

invented for our survival.

And we, of course, are the real aliens;

Each a world unto one’s own,

orbiting a sun of its own devising.

Tim Hawkins has lived and traveled widely throughout the Americas and Southeast Asia, where he has worked as a journalist, technical writer and teacher in international schools. He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. His writing has appeared in more than two dozen print and online publications. In 2012, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published his first collection, Wanderings at Deadline (Aldrich Press).

Dotted Line