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

Eva Heisler

The Olden Days


As soon as I turn off the light,

questions tumble

out of my four year-old daughter.

“What do dragons eat?”

“Can God ride a bicycle?”

I am tired and facing essays to grade,

last minute laundry,

a letter demanding immediate reply . . .

I am not quick to answer

and Zoe fills each pause

with another question.

“Where was I when you were a little girl?”

Each question delays my departure

and darkness.

“Why isn’t it the olden days anymore?”

But it is the olden days, I want to say.

At this very moment

we are on a journey

you will recount one night to your little girl.

Pay attention. Notice the light,

the shadows on your ceiling, my face—


the face of your thirty-four-year-old mother;

one day you may long for these details

as I may long

for this distraction and exhaustion.

But instead I mutter “I don’t know”

and insist on silence and sleep.

Ask me tomorrow, I say. I promise

answers by morning. “But, Mama,”

my daughter wails as I slip from the room.

“In the morning I forget my questions.”


In the dim light and chill of early morning,

I gather papers and books

while keeping an eye on the oatmeal

and reminding my daughter to get dressed

and, yes, she must go to school

and, no, she can’t wear the purple dress

for the third day in a row. And stop asking

because I will not buy Barbie cereal.

Sprawled on the floor

with panties on her head and socks on her hands,

my daughter holds one of my textbooks

upside down, pretending to read.

“Little Miss Muffet sat on a muffin,



corduroy . . .”

I pull from Zoe’s hands The Rise of Puritanism.

How many times must I ask you to dress,

I say. And no,

I haven’t seen the purple dress.

My daughter turns her back to me

and picks up a magazine. “With one mighty shove,”

she reads, “Gretel kicked the wicked witch

headfirst into the oven.”

That’s it. I snatch

The New Yorker out of her hands.

I’m taking you to school

with panties on your head.

My daughter, reaching for the black pants

I dangle in front of her,

mutters under her breath,

“You are a wicked woman.” Slowly

she dresses—taking breaks

to also dress

her Cinderella paper dolls

scattered across the floor.

The stepmother paper doll,

with pointy shoes and grim expression,

wears my favorite colors (burgundy and gray),

and although my hair is not gray, I realize

that mine this morning

is pushed into a bun

not unlike that of the stepmother.

I am old and mean

and have no sympathy for Cinderella.

“Don’t forget to brush your hair,”

I say. All that polishing

and sweeping

taught Cinderella to take care of herself.

“When I have a little girl,”

my daughter informs me,

“I will take her to meetings

and to classes and out to lunch

and to toy stores. I will take her everywhere.”

I never intended to be the wicked stepmother.

Really, it’s easier for me

if she eats jelly beans for breakfast

and it’s less laundry

if she wears the same purple dress

to school and to bed . . .

But I am under a spell,

compelled to feed my daughter (burned) oatmeal

and in a rage

to hide the purple dress.

I open my arms

and in them are ugly shoes

and sour apples. Eat, my pretty;

this will make you grow

up and away.

As I stand at the backdoor,

muttering to myself

and making last minute changes

on an article due the day before,

my daughter (hair brushed

and decorated with a dozen barrettes)

tiptoes to me and lifts my shirt.

With her head, she nudges at my belly.

“Nibble, nibble, gnaw,” she whispers.

“You are my gingerbread house.”

Eva Heisler has recently published two books of poems, Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic (Kore Press) and Drawing Water (Noctuary Press).

Dotted Line