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

Angel C. Dye


this poem is for her

stitching up wounds from twelve years ago

out of her teens and still unsure if she goes

both ways

hating birthdays cuz they’re reminders that

she’s closer to death

at one point she wanted that

cut/purged/hurt herself in an effort to forget

she was herself

this poem is for her

in a clinic for the third time with a womb

he suggested she turn into a burial ground

but the real tomb is her heart every time

he knocks her down cuz she don’t understand

why she still loves him

this poem is for her




this poem is for her

too narrowly defined and more than meets the eye

too easily denied and more often dismantled and untied

than uplifted and inspired

this poem is for her

wherever it finds her

and i hope she writes her own version of it

when it feels right for her


There are dangling threads and strands

frayed and loose hanging around the hems

of my skin.

Two knotted a long time ago then ripped to

shreds and were never able to mend.

And I am their tapestry, their crooked

cloth, their patch on ripped knee jeans

and snagged shirts.

Sometimes we all tangle into each other,

and I feel one’s blue-black eyes the same

way I feel the other’s doped veins and venom.

They are separate ends of the same bolt of

fabric, and I am all that joins them now.

Sometimes I want to be my own, not theirs.

I am them even when I hate it.

Hate hanging on to what I think is their

regard for me by a thread.

Hate safety pinning the pieces they’ve left

me with just to make something wearable.

I am wearing too big and too small skin that

they draped and stretched over me when

they felt like it, and now I am old enough to

tailor myself into whatever I want to be.

Of course I will have to washboard bathe the

rags I have been for twenty years,

but once I am wrung out and hung to drip dry

I will soak up sun like it is all that can revive

the colors of my cloth that have faded.

And I will wear the two ends of my newly

stitched garment, and their knots and

tangles will not strangle me

but they will make me whole.

Inquiries on the Meeting of Birth and Burial Ground

—for Sybrina Fulton, Lesley McSpadden, Gloria Darden,
Geneva Reed-Veal, and every mother who has buried a stolen child

Have you ever asked her what it’s like

carrying stillborns in her womb?

To know her seeds are flowering

only to be snatched up like weeds?

Have you tried to look past her eyes

and into the empty space carved out in her soul

for ruptured membrane and crushed bones?

If she told you would you understand

how bathing babies feels like readying to

wring out bloodied clothes?

How nursing her children foreshadows

breathing resuscitation into their bodies?

If she said she expects the doctor to hand her

birth and death certificates on the same day

would that mean anything to you?

Does it make her heroic or insane

to birth children who might never

reach adulthood?

Is her heart home or hearse to her lineage?

Can she hear hope rumbling in her belly

over the sound of barrels and bullets

midwifing her fear?

Will she hug and kiss

or eulogize and bury her future today?

Will her motherhood always be marked

by questions and memory?

Symphony in D

When darkness enters you

there is no way to push back its hands,

groping and grabbing at yet undeveloped chords,

stroking and stealing the naïveté of prepubescent melodies

Darkness has a familiar face,

gentle, welcoming, reassuring, childlike—


Your insides clink and clatter

like maracas, tambourines, high hat cymbals

but your music is crashing to a crescendo

you cannot control

You have never broken a bone before,

still you are certain that darkness has

fondled fortissimo fractures all over you

And by the time your notes and clefs

rearrange to sound beautiful again

nothing is fine-tuned enough to undo

darkness’s cacophony

Beauty in Her Marrow

Inhaling paradise feels like kissing

the glass partitioning forever and the end.

Amethyst rain pirouettes through begging vessels,

and she is fifteen minutes freer than five seconds ago

shrouded in superhuman flight.

She hovers

over thirteen-year-old yesterday;

flashes of women who look too much like she

entwine their trembling fingers with hers

teaching her how to b r e a t h e .

And the air up here is glorious—

white, shining, sparkling ‘til it glares, ‘til it blinds,

bounteous and aromatic enough to choke

her into unconsciousness.

Breath is heavy, heavy

when it is a relevé and plié gasping through her pulse and ribcage,

somersaulting to a sudden scream,

when it is the soundtrack to her priceless transaction.

Selling and buying she knows.

Colliding and collapsing she knows.

Shatters and splinters she knows.

Even redemption and renewal she knows.

But does she know that there is air yet more divine than this?

The clouds gathering for torrent and storm around her cyclone

can grand jeté too.

Though she is looking through lenses

fogged and blurred by ragged breathing now,

once she is ready to collect the cracked and calcified frame

meant to hold her upright,

she will again see the beauty in her marrow.

Angel C. Dye is a poet and spoken word artist from Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas by way of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Currently she is a senior at Howard University studying English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She is passionate about using poetry as a medium through which she questions, explores, and makes sense of the disparities in the communities that she represents as well as to approach liberation and communal healing.

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