Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2016    fiction    all issues



Cover Carly Larsson

Sarah Sansolo
Bedtime Stories
& other poems

Miranda Cowley Heller
Things the Tide Has Discarded
& other poems

Alexa Poteet
Escobar's Hacienda Napoles
& other poems

Cynthia Robinson Young
Triple Dare
& other poems

Nicole Lachat
Of Infidelities
& other poems

Amy Nawrocki
Bad Girls
& other poems

Lawrence Hayes
Winter Climb
& other poems

AJ Powell
God the Baker
& other poems

Gisle Skeie
& other poems

Bruce Taylor
Always Expect a Train
& other poems

Ricky Ray
They Used to Be Things
& other poems

S. E. Ingraham
Storm Angels
& other poems

Laura Gamache
& other poems

Keighan Speer
It Rained Today
& other poems

Emma Atkinson
Grocery Stores Make Me Feel Mentally Ill
& other poems

Erin Lehrmann
& other poems

D. H. Turtel
Margaret, Again
& other poems

Chris Haug
Bovine Paranoia
& other poems

Kimberly M. Russo
Definitive Definition
& other poems

Holly Walrath
A Tourist of Sorts
& other poems

Angel C. Dye
Beauty in Her Marrow
& other poems

Writer's Site

Emma Atkinson

So Loved the World


only God loves the world.

I’ll admit that I have made

small sacrifices for my small life.

Here is a beige square

on my shoulder

distorted and discolored

by a nicotine patch.

Such furtive appetites

only disguise themselves

as connections to the world.

And it’s true

I didn’t leave my apartment today.

But my twin bed

is pressed by the window

so I can hear the rain at night,

and my two cats chase each other

from room to room.


there are many ways to love the world.

Grocery stores make me feel mentally ill

It’s partly the space itself, white and cold

and endless and hollow at the center. It’s like Hell

masquerading as Heaven, you know, those thousands

of treats laced with poison. Everything is screaming for attention.

It’s partly the eyes. A dozen cameras, a dozen employees

stationed, a thousand glances. It’s the politics of movement,

and the two-dimensional gazes reflected in plastic screens.

It’s the staring, the observation.

It’s mostly my hands, my basket or cart, wide

and grasping at colors. It’s seeing my life take form

in solid objects, bleeding meat, warm cans,

PopTarts and beer. It’s seeing what I am

spelled out in a shopping list, it’s the thought of home

and what I bring there, what it lacks and what I choose.

It’s identities laid bare.

On the way home, I speed through every turn.


My mother was considered wild

(by 1960s small town standards.)

At the age of twelve she caused a scandal

by hosting a séance in the basement

of the Lutheran church. We shared this connection:

a love of ghost stories. I once asked her, “What is

a ghost?” She said, “Someone who can’t move on,

someone with unfinished business.”

For weeks after she died, every time a car

pulled into our driveway, I expected her

to climb out of it. My father said he felt

the same way. No one ever dies

without unfinished business.

The spirits who come back get all the attention,

but someone has to wonder about the ones

who never do, about what they found instead

and where they found it.

Emma Atkinson lives in Houston, TX. Her hobbies include making chapbooks, reading about demonic possession, and taking too many photos of her cats. Some of her writing can be found on and the 2015 Pooled Ink anthology.

Dotted Line