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

Jenna Kilic


The wide eyes of the plywood walls

darted about the room.

The floor was dirt or looked

like dirt. Sprouting up, a single

piece of grass—or a grasshopper.

Then there was a bowl, blue

like the Pacific she watched

while living on Jeju

Island. In it, grains of rice

and the smear marks of a hand:

. . . looked like waves hitting shore.

Who put them there? A girl who made it

another day or did not? Did it matter?

She heard his zipper but watched

the bowl, felt his cold

calloused hands part her

legs as if opening a briefcase.

And then he was in.

And she did not cry.

And she did not wince.

And he would not come in her.

And he would not come on her

but filled the bowl

and left with his rifle.

Aisha, the Child-Bride of Muhammad, Speaks

My mother pulls at my wrist, pulls me

to the entrance of the house, wipes

my face and hair with water, her hands catch

in my tangles, then nudges me through

the door to a chorus of Assalam alaikum,

where the preparation continues—my mother

wrapping me in a white silk jilbab, in gold

jewelry. A wrinkle in a forehead

to my right, a crooked smile to my left

tell me I was chosen by Allah; I will be Mother

of the Believers. A woman of Ansar says,

You have entered with blessing and good fortune.

In the morning, I am a gift

they give to him. His cheeks are bright, rough

like sand dunes. Kneeling to peer into my eyes,

he says I am his favorite, that I will be a leader

of Muslim women. The eyes that stare

at me are brown, then gray, then black.

He lets me bring my dolls, and I am happy.

Nightfall and we are in Medina. There are no stars

to light the doll stories I make

with friends, but it is no matter; when he enters,

they scurry like mice in a barren landscape.

I try to place the doll on the ground,

but he wraps his hand around

my wrist—his fingers thick like dates—

and tells me to keep it. Scooping me into his arms,

I feel the scratching of his gray beard against my cheek,

and it is like I am hugging my father. He lays me

on our bed and takes the doll from my hand

to entertain me with a puppet show, teasing the lips

of the doll about my cheek, making us idol

worshippers in private. His hands move

like snakes, undressing us as I hold the doll

to my chest. He hardly fits inside me but enters

with blessing and good fortune.

A Cannibal in Onsong Prison Speaks

—after Hyok Kang with Philippe Grangereau

A dog came back to town, bone in mouth,

and lay in the road, lavishly licking it,

skeletal frame heaving exhaustive yelps.

The people who watched him grew envious.

When my neighbor approached the bone, the dog

growled and then like us, whimpered and shook

as if to say, I know you; and you, me.

My neighbor halted, though from my sightline

he didn’t seem to react to the dog.

And then a twitch of forehead, sweat dripping

from temple. He saw it charred—her small bone.

My wife left for China to look for food;

my daughter and I too weak to follow,

and all the while, the waiting. Days then weeks.

Her nagging grew incessant, torturing

our torturer: Hunger. She grabbed my arm,

her hands no longer eight years old—her touch

no longer human texture. My fist hit

her face, and she smacked onto the concrete floor.

White foam and blood poured from her mouth, a river

into an ocean where the father drowned

in logical currents that swept away

compassion. She would suffer if she lived.

The animal I turned into picked up

an axe, shattered her skull, and found solace

in her limp-warm body. Hands of the father

who’d once dressed her when she was cold now peeled

the fleshy sleeves of her arms, fighting time,

the cold of rigor mortis. Several days

he ate, then burned the body in his stove.

In observance of our customs, he scattered

her on a mountainside, all ash and bone.

Execution at Yodok

—after Kang Chol-hwan and Pierre Rigoulot

The guards instructed us to pick up stones.

They brought him to the gallows at Ipsok

and silenced him, filling his mouth with rocks.

Before he even stopped writhing, we learned

the purpose of these stones, as guards instructed

us none-rebellious prisoners to pelt

his face and chest while yelling, Down with dead-

dog traitors. I aimed for no harmful place

but struck his shriveled penis, tore his foreskin.

The guards laughed. One tapped me on my wet face.

The rain came back. Wet from crying, I mean.

The bloody water washed around our feet,

making the others shiver while I beamed,

a child who found the ease in evil.

Fertile Soil

—after Kang Chol-hwan and Pierre Rigoulot

We came down from the mountainside

and smelled the stench before we saw

the bodies tossing in the air,

still clothed. The bulldozer made way—

our friends and family shoved along.

We could no longer bury them

on Yodok’s hill. The guards told us

to grab the big pieces (the arms,

the legs, heads that lost their torsos—

torsos), to throw them in the ditch,

a pit not on a mountain slope

or hill, the customary places

for the Korean dead to rest.

My friend discovered his mother

in pieces and threw up in shock.

When he carried her to the ditch,

he made the choice—the only choice

he’s ever made—not to come back.

I’m sure he’s lying there with her.

A few days later, the hill’s plain

lay ready for a crop of corn.

Those forced to plant it found toes, noses.

The corn grew well for several years.

Jenna Kilic is a third-year MFA Creative Writing candidate at The Ohio State University, where she also serves as Co-Poetry Editor of The Journal. Raised in North Fort Myers, Florida, she received her BA in English and Theatre from The University of Florida. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Birmingham Poetry Review, Pleiades, The Portland Review, and elsewhere.

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