Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2014    fiction    all issues


Anne Rankin-Kotchek
Letter to the World
from a Dying Woman
& other poems

Sara Graybeal
Ghetto City
& other poems

Tee Iseminger
& other poems

Lisa Beth Fulgham
After They Sold the Cows...
& other poems

Mary Mills
The Practical Knowledge
of Women
& other poems

Monika Cassel
Waldschatten, Muttersprache
& other poems

Michael Fleming
To a Fighter
& other poems

Daniel Stewart
& other poems

John Glowney
& other poems

Hannah Callahan
The Ptarmigan Suite
& other poems

Lee Kisling
How the Music Came
to My Father
& other poems

Jose A. Alcantara
Finding the God Particle
& other poems

David A. Bart
Veteran’s Park
& other poems

Greg Grummer
War Reportage
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

J. K. Kitchen
Anger Kills Himself
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
The Man Who Wished
He Was Lego
& other poems

Jessica M. Lockhart
Scylla of the Alabama
& other poems

James P. Leveque
Three Films of Jean Painlevé
& other poems

Kelsey Charles
& other poems

Therese L. Broderick
& other poems

Lane Falcon
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Bird
& other poems

Phoebe Reeves
Every Petal
& other poems

David Livingstone Fore
Eternity is a very long time...
& other poems

Tim Hawkins
Northern Idyll
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
On the Pillow Where You Lie
& other poems

Joey DeSantis
Baby Names
& other poems

Cameron Price
Every Morning
& other poems

David Walker
Sestina for Housesitting
& other poems

Helen R. Peterson
& other poems

Lisa Beth Fulgham

After They Sold the Cows, But Before They Cut Away the Pines

Wine-fed and lying in truck beds thrown open,

we had gathered in a field to watch meteor showers

but first noticed the moon, halved

and upward-facing like a bowl to hold

every flinch, every shiver, every amen come Sunday.

Firelight would have drowned out the celestial,

so we grasped at each other for warmth.

We played geography, we played guess-the-headlights,

we played sing-the-tree-line-to-sleep.

We awoke with the warblers at dawn, dew seeped

into the openings of our sleeping bags.

Together, we excavated the remnants of the night.

Blushing and lacking pavement to guide us,

we drove along the barbed-wire fence,

hoping to cross it as we had the night before,

without piercing our skin.

The Choctaws under the Bed

The picture was boxed in forest green and dust,

waiting to be discovered in the space beneath

my grandmother’s brick-hard mattress.

Man and woman, field-worn and dark-skinned,

they glared at me. These two stood upright,

holding their half-filled baskets in front of them.

Behind them grew rows of cotton.

And I wondered, if they could see me,

would they string beads in my straw-like hair?

If they could see me, would they touch

this skin that the sun bites into, chews,

and spits out? Would they scold

me for slouching and step forward

to straighten my spine?

Would they teach me dying

words that would hang in my throat

like phlegm in Southern spring?

Would they say Oh my, how you’ve grown,

we remember . . . or just return to their work,

pulling at the bolls more forcefully?


It’s ok because I only count

when I’m bored, she says, noticing

every percussive pen click against

legal pad from across the gap

between her and Dr. Drivel.

Behind her back she lifts

and curls her fingers in multiples

of three with each beat.

The inspirational posters and books

with well-worn spines don’t distract

enough from the floor tiles, arm freckles

and kaleidoscopes that need to be inventoried.

Just like the asphalt and white

lines of highways are not enough

to keep her from turning her attention

to the passing cars as she paces home.

There is not enough time to number them all,

to make sure that she’s seen the correct

amount before she can go inside.

So she takes the longer way, dodging

through alleyways and neighborhoods.

She turns the knob back and forth

three times before heading indoors,

announcing her arrival.

It’s ok because at night I can rest,

she says, turning the light off with

the normal click, click, click.

She turns over three times

like an alligator in a death roll

with a dog,

and gives thanks for the dark,

and gives thanks for the dark,

and gives thanks.

A Strange Offspring

Junior high experimenter,

wisp-banged boy who swabbed

the corners of my locker

while I stood, kicking at a patch

of dried gum on the short, grey carpet,

if then I could have seen the bacteria

swelling in shades of white, green,

and yellow, I wouldn’t have volunteered,

raising my hand and wiggling my fingers

under the fluorescent lighting.

Later, we gazed at the Petri dish,

a fertile culture blooming

below us, condensation

lapping the lid.

A girl chortled

two rows over, called me

moldy Mona. You slid

your nails underneath

the tape, opened the container,

and released our spores.

Found after the Sudden Storm with Straight Line Winds

This light switch, useless.

That half-green, half-rust

lawn chair lost.

Torn bits of yesterday’s news:

the school’s successful play,

the congressman’s unsuccessful affair.

Power lines snaked

across the asphalt.

This pup thrown

against the shed’s aluminum side.

This house halved by a pecan tree.

Parking lot puddles reflecting

our cheeks, the sun.

This corn crop’s thirst quenched.

These ponds teeming,

this conversation overflowing.

Lisa Beth Fulgham is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University’s M.A. program in creative writing and is the Managing/Founding Editor of Blinders Literary Journal. Currently, she is a wanderer and is working on submitting her chapbook, A Voice Raised From the Dirt. She is the former Associate Editor of The Jabberwock Review.

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