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

Michael Hugh Lythgoe

Wounds In Spring

In the season of amputees,

we live with cut limbs,

axed to the crotch, nubs;

pruned to the knuckles.

Some arborists believe

it helps the myrtle trees

to flower and blossom back

brighter, fuller even.

It is spring now,

nearly Palm Sunday.

The wounds bother me.

In the north, the clear maple

sap is frozen, unable to bleed

out to buckets for syrup.

Here the dogwoods, pears

and cherry wear

new whites, pink; redbuds

renew in Lenten purple.

Judas tree.

Pollen comes alive—

even as the freshly wounded



Ebony birds float like ballerinas on pointe,

pirouettes; birds’ arabesque necks are musical,

jet-wings, sculptures afloat, sable marble

moored near the shore line below Pike’s Peak,

an onyx fleet, boats under raven sails;

charcoal swans link in a love-heart of mysterious

curves, cues, a vision of long low necks, a ritual

meant to seduce, a dipping synchronous

mirror image, cob and pen couple—feral,

ornamental, symbols of a perfect storm, disastrous;

black swans mean a surprise, the unexpected, unreal—

Sandy—black lacquer paddlers, black pearls

in a pitch pigment painting, reminiscent of a flotilla:

a wound blooms in London, a drift of open black umbrellas.


             Some sink to their knees

for an inspiration to begin a poem—

says a bespectacled teacher

at the Culture Center.

Inspiration does not come.

You must beg for it. He advises

a student to study an apple. To really

know what an apple is, be interested.

To understand an apple, really see the fruit.

Imagine if the teacher substituted woman

             or life for apple.

             The spinal column

             is a tricky business

she says to me.

My hands apply pressure

to her shoulders; I massage

her neck, down her backbone.

She looks out the window

into the winter sun feeling

its way through breezy pines.

Do you see the tree, there?

Behind it something crosses

the trunk, reminds her

of a crucifix. It is a dark line of mulch

at the edge of a green space.

I recall the paintings in the Cafe

Monet where we ate brunch

last Sunday: spare works, a series

in thick oils, umber, whites, black, maroons.

One canvas reminded me of the Eastern Rite,

             Greek Orthodox crosses—

                         crossbars aslant—

                                       crooked figures in slant light.

Small Gods & Heroes

(after Ed Smith, Sculptor)

Each anatomy is incomplete: a beggar,

a wounded warrior, a speared hand,

severed, Perseus, Hercules. The artist

sculpts his gods & heroes small,

forms wax molds, leaves pinch marks,

fingerprints, pours molten metal

into hollow shells, forms bodies.

But these bronze figures are not whole,

still they convey neuroaesthetics.

We learn to feel the hurt of Hercules’ labors;

Samson weak, shorn, blunt trunk;

Sebastian stung by arrows, flesh cut.

Greek antiquities—incomplete human

shapes—mythical Medusa—what it means

to imagine ideals, glorious serpentine

long hair, to perceive suffering shapes,

a torso polished shiny in spots, indented

with shadows, stripped, a bronze Christ,

fractured, next to a column in a palace.

Mercury—no arms, headless, leaning—

ready to leave the ground with a wing

on his right heel.

March Voyeur

On a morning with two discordant crows

encamped on the roof’s peak, I believe

in afternoons. At sixteen hundred hours

a school-pencil yellow bus

brings the neighbor’s children home

as regular as the tides.

             From my window looking east

I see the sun climb a little higher each hour.

Clocks will leap forward this week;

leaves are late. Winter scene

is still cleared out, thin.

In the afternoon hour a sun-bright bus

is a gift—like the single daffodil

found on my walk amid green stems

yesterday. The light shines brighter

on magnolia leaves, the brightest

green in the copse of trees I view.

Spring will fill in the patch of woods

within weeks so it will be harder to see

through to where the afternoon school bus

leaves a lemon brush stroke, van Gogh-like,

along the horizontal base of a landscape.

Michael Hugh Lythgoe is a retired Air Force officer with an MFA from Bennington College. He grew up in southern Indiana, and currently lives in Aiken, SC. His poems appear in Christianity and Literature, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Pea River, Windhover, and Petigru Review. Recently, he has been meeting with soldiers to discuss poetry in the Wounded Warriors program at Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA.

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