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

S. E. Hudgens


The virgin, she is everywhere. En todas

partes. Tiled into the corner store wall, painted on

houses along Chicon, hung around necks

and between breasts of the pious. Her mâchéd

figure lurks in the live oak groves that line

the río; she bows to cursing

lovers and the needles that line the curbs.

Shrouded in azul de bebé, the virgin watches

with a face impassive as plastic. She has learned

to expect little. Her heart flares. I know

she dreams of escape, of shattered tile and

crumbling brick, of God taking her

right there on the sidewalk in front of all the pimps.

The ladies de la noche will mistake her

for one of their own, offer her a cigarette

as she rises from the rubble. She’ll finally feel

what Magdalene felt—like a base

human being, like una criminal,

whole. The night will tattoo her onto its belly.

What will the men say as, for once,

she undresses con las estrellas?


It came as a gift—

a small sack of lavender

in the drawer of winter. Safe,

like an eye pillow or a

mousetrap. I crawled

in after it, let its moist

scent surround my hands

and feet, seep into

the small hairs of my thighs—

my bare body married to it,

buried with it. The drawer

seemed the best place

to wait for the snow to melt.

It fell and fell, until I fell,

finally, asleep.

In the spring I woke withered

and the sack was empty:

the scent was gone. What

is the half-life of lavender?

I searched for it under

my fingernails, shoved

my nose into the shrubs

outside. The sun was not

as I had remembered—it was

infinite and odorless,

and I was afraid

to get lost on its hills. I thought

if I made a new sack of mountain

laurel, I’d be protected

from its vast stare,

but summer came anyway,

relentless, smelling

of the last sweet

stages of death, of asphalt

pulsing up and up.

The first day of fall

brought a cloud

that did not leave

for six weeks. It took distant,

purple shapes each day,

and I liked to guess animal,

vegetable, or mineral. Finally,

it reached down and

stitched its rain

around my waist

and over my head

and said: You are the gift now.

And so I waited to meet my lover.

We walked through the cemetery

on the day he lost half his tooth; it was raining.

When we ducked under a balding branch,

he divined the lives of Work, William and Theresa.

They died on the same day—car wreck or hurricane;

their name a cruel prophesy of the rent

that remained unpaid no matter how many

hours they gave. Their children could afford only

flat grey slabs. When he spoke, the tiny partial tooth

hovered above his bottom lip, dust

roiled into mud in the indecisive wind, and for once

I didn’t wonder what it was like to be beautiful.

Instead I wiped drops from my earlobes,

began to walk again. Raliegh, Johanna—five white

irises on black marble. Dodd, Brett—mausoleum

in the style of melodrama’s vilest vampire.

Winthrop, John—three-foot cross engraved

over his name that would have rolled his puritan

ancestors in their graves. These ways we think

we honor them, assumptions we make for our own sake.

He said a blank slab would suffice, that a name

could never capture a life. All he needed was a new tooth.

I said if I could choose my tomb, it would be a song

that never failed to change—me, the melody

blooming inside—but what I wanted to tell you

is that he got on his knees and tried to quiet

that chorus of the dead long enough to explain,

to pray for an explanation, why he hadn’t joined them.

A Wedding

If I had believed this was the moment

I’d stop casting desire into a barren

lake, then I would have seen

the birds strung on the power

line like live garland—hundreds, exactly

evenly spaced. I would have heard

the strange wind stagnate at our feet

as the grass turned another

degree. I’d have noticed the sun toss its

most indulgent pinks into clouds when time

came to give up the day to birds and flies

and ghosts of fish preying on flies, the flies

playing with birds, the birds praying

for dark and wet and all of us

vowing to stay forever.

S. E. Hudgens I aim for music, rhythm, and an image that comes back to you while clipping your nails three nights after reading it. I hope I have achieved these for at least one reader. My work has appeared in Hubbub, Knockout, and Farfelu, among other places. I hold an MFA from EWU’s Inland Center for Writers and work as an advertising editor/writer in Austin, Texas.

Dotted Line