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

Winner of $100 for 3rd-place-voted Poems

Writer's Site

Tee Iseminger


They sold the empty lot next door last month,

the one with the tree, the tree my daughter

climbed all of those mercilessly long, stagnant

summers, made her teenage cradle in, read her

borrowed books. The tree whose limbs overgrew

the property line and rubbed against our lives until

we no longer remembered that it wasn’t our tree, and we,

or maybe it was only I who came to depend

on the sympathy of its freckled shade on our breakfast

table, the table where my husband and I sat suspended

each morning in forbearance, in our own early fall, these

seasons of not saying, of not knowing what else we might

possibly say, and so grateful for the scratching of branches.

It came down more quietly than any of us expected; one

day we simply noticed that we had poured our orange juice

in a spot of warm sun.

“We won’t be a bother,” the foreman had shouted from

over the fence as I as pulled tomatoes that Wednesday,

the last time I saw that tree.

I’m afraid you will, is a thing I could have said.

Tuesday Morning on the Way to Rehab

This is the you I will press to a clean new sheet of memory,

you asleep with your shaggy head against the dirty car

window—do you remember when I still cared to stop

and to wash things?—and with this newly exploding

sunrise in the glassy space beyond you, as pale as

you, as ignorant as you of a future I fear may not

include either one of us. Or maybe the memory

to keep is three years ago, when you were just

beginning to fall apart, when I was still sure

that there were so many chances, so many

chances out there for you. It’s getting late

and we should hurry, now. You are small

and changing fast, reducing. By sunset

you will have shrunken back from the

framed edges of this picture, farther

than you were yesterday, farther

even than you were early this

palid morning, less you than

just an instant ago—please,

is there no way to save it

now?—there is all of

this history and I

have nothing but

you to keep

it in.

Ways We May Have Been Wrong

I am watching your sister through the window, waiting for the bus.

The rising sun behind her has caught her in such a way that the

space around her has been set afire. I step away, intending to pick

up the camera to get a picture, but then stop, and decide only

to just be present.

You are not here and today is your birthday. I remember the day, I think

it was in the second grade, that I sat waiting on the front stoop for your

own school bus to arrive, and when it did you ran fast down its stairs

and up the walkway to where I sat, and with wide, frightened eyes you

cried: my friend died yesterday. He was seven, and had only been walking

home, only walking home—I can still hear so clearly that only—and he

just collapsed, and that was that. I remember feeling as we clung together,

and I think you did, too, that this is what made life the scariest thing.

Your birthday. When I was pregnant with you, had just begun to round out

in the belly, my back pulled in to follow as you stretched us both out into

unknown territory, and it was then that I felt the deep foreshadow of this

place where we live now, and so I sat down to write a poem. It was rough,

I was young, only twenty. But it was all you and me, all superhero duo and

scrappy fairy tale. I still believe in that version of us. Maybe just not in quite

the same costumes, now.

When you have made your bed, when you have finished with today’s group

and the nurse has watched you take your dose and sent you out into that

unnaturally bright and crowded room, please call. I’ll sing.


I take a swipe at your tight face

pull it back, brush the dustings off—

you were 22 then, your bright smile

gone fallow, your eyes anemic and


I pinch the features hard, try by

brute force to bring you back to

your surface, to pull you forward

and out into this very particular,

particular light—

this place I have shaded

by not shading, drawn by

drawing around you,

more screened,

more diffuse, I see now,

than chiaroscuro.

Tee Iseminger is a recovering advertising copywriter returning to roots in fiction, with two novels and a short story collection in progress, and is experimenting with poetry—particularly narrative style. She’s an alumni of Squaw Valley Writer’s Workshops, Fishtrap Writer’s Conference, Fine Arts Work Center’s online workshops, and one day will finally finish her BA, 10 years in the making, at the University of Nevada’s creative writing program. She lives with her husband and daughter in Reno.

Dotted Line