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

Annie Mascorro


To Lawson

I will not lie.

It will be cold. It will sting.

There are corners here

and thirst.

The landscape of your birth is dry,

prone to fires and yellowed brush.

But what you need to know is this:

At dusk there is a purplish-blue

covering treetops, filling in

deep pockets between mountains,

in the distance. Some days it will come

all of a sudden, other days

you will wait. It is a feeling. It is

what the world offers you—

a full stomach, the coming of a chilly

night, the moment when you have done

all that you will do

for now, right before

the world remakes itself

again and again.



Once, my mother was crying

said to me, let’s run away, something

burning in the kitchen. Even then

I knew to be afraid, that house

full of corners, fears that were

or were not, spread, made things

disappear: the baby grand, the yellow

telephone, my father’s

clothes. I prepared for us

to run: learned to read a clock

braid my hair, eat spiders

from their webs. Still, I climbed

the black cast-iron stairwell just

to look down and feel. Even then

I knew to count the born and the un-

born, brothers and sisters and fathers and cats.


Once, I made carrot cake for a man

who hit me, or wanted to, or couldn’t

help but want an American dessert—

something sweet, with frosting for the guests

to see. Underneath the table, he held my hand

tight, laughed eres mi postre, mi vida, mia

por siempre. No way for him to know

I called my mother from the thin white kitchen

while he slept, that I cried, a girl who does not know

the metric system, such cold, how

do I make this work? She mentions lemon rinds,

says I will know what to do and when.


Once, a ceremonial robe

hung from the frame of a door.

The color drained into dawn, specks

of cloth catching reflections of glass

from around the room—mirror and

table and vase. I could not see the top,

thought—a body must be inside—

as I stood not wanting to look,

in this house, where terrible

things happened, where the blood

of a goat could not make things right,

where I had decided to leave

for good but could not

move. Not until music

from the neighborhood mosque

cracked the air wide—

a man chanting in another

language, not unlike the song

my mother sang about the cephalopod,

a song I did not understand

but knew all those years.

At first I remembered, then

walked past. A taxi waiting on the other side.

The Container

In the kitchen I twirled while she wrapped

strips of wet gauze around

my naked waist then belly then breasts.

The texture, rough and dripping, hardened

against the skin, all those invisible hairs

pulled tight. For art—this shell—a form

on which she would mold slabs of clay

to bisque in the earth, colors burning through

the shape of my body—now cast

and hanging in her home—caught

then, in its moment, readying itself

as if on the lip of a jar

for what I could not have known would come—

the cutting and the sucking, convulsions,

everywhere, years pouring

out, pools of murk and ore gathering at once.


Listen: I will no longer be your guinea pig

your “how to live here and there” kid, stretched like a guinea worm.

Between basins of bath waters and iced oceans

I dream their depressions: Canary and Cape, and Guinea.

When I wake, I wake twice, ask for air, think, what if

a monarch stopped mid-air, over a child in New Guinea.

If I drank, it would be the clear wine of palm leaves

the stuff Christians drink, in the forests of southern Guinea.

Once drunk, maybe I’d arrive for good, in my mind

or out, a dry land, unchanged, a desert in Haute Guinée.

If you were drunk too, and said, Annie you are here,

I would say, listen up: they call me Aïcha in Guinea.

On Auras

Auras, or partial seizures, often precede epileptic seizures and are characterized by specific sensory sensations depending on the part of the brain in which they originate.

Dear Friend,

The noodles you gave me,

once cooked, fell apart

and I am putting them

back together—jagged corner, wavy

edge, a jigsaw of brown-rice lasagna.

Let me explain. Just now I am wanting everything

smooth: fat noodles, sauce, cheese, again,

unbroken. And yet, I am remembering,

bent over a glass casserole dish

in this fog of sun, the universe.

The one that is not smooth, that

comes in a moment before everything else—

wonder and trouble sinking down

the body before it falls. No one

says this but I will: it is a place

to be returned to, like so many,

like the end of the desert in upper

Guinea where I once drank

plastic baggies full of sour milk,

curdled chunks floating on the top.

Annie Mascorro’s poetry and essays have been published in Calyx, Epilepsy U.S.A., WorldView Magazine, Montana Public Radio’s Collegium Medicium, and forthcoming in ZYZZYVA. She is the recipient of the 2007 Five Fingers Review poetry prize. She is a psychiatric nurse and is currently pursuing her certification in poetry therapy through the National Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy. She lives in San Diego.

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