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

Keighan Speer

People Are Like Storms

Because when I was younger my father would

speak soft words or none at all

and leave marks on my toddler skin

before I could count one-one-thousand

between strikes of lightning.

Because when I was a little older but not much

girls who didn’t speak to me would

whisper thoughts of me into

eager ears and laughter would erupt

within school hallways and it sounded

like dark clouds and my father’s hand.

Because when I thought I was much older

I let boys with pretty eyes wreak havoc

and tear down my walls with their gale winds

before they evaporated and left me

in the rubble with what sounded like

my father’s hand and elementary laughter.


People are like storms.

Because they destroy us they

ravage our hearts and minds and


People are like storms because

we watch them and dance with them

and thank the sky and the earth

for giving us thunder and darkness

and angry hands and elementary laughter and deceitful eyes.

People are like storms because

they cause damage and anger

and hate and yet

and yet

we kiss lips and raindrops

we hold hands beneath dark skies

we gaze into pretty eyes and bolts of lightning.

Because people are like storms

and we love them.

It Rained Today

It rained today.

We woke to dark skies

moons beneath our eyes.

It rained today.

We gathered in too-bright hallways and

made little attempt to remove fallen droplets.

It rained today.

Our eyes glued to boards and sheets of paper

hands clutching vast containers of caffeinated salvation.

It rained today.

We forgot it did.

It rained today.

We were released and

shuffled through heavy doors with closed eyes and

felt droplets upon knitted brows.

It rained today.

We didn’t pause

didn’t glance at the sky or seek protection.

It rained today.

We trudged on.


Because we can paint smiles

on porcelain faces and

blink our jewel eyes and

hold our china heads high and

you’ll never realize

You’ll never see the

cracks that

etch spiderwebs across

glass bones and

you’ll never see

we’re hollow inside.

Because we can’t

speak through painted smiles or

let tears fall from jewel eyes or

lower china heads and

you’ll never notice

You’ll never know

tiny cracks form invisible wounds and

you’ll never know

we’re broken inside.

And Who Was I

And music was in my bones

smoke in my hair

burning liquid

at the back of my throat

and she turned to me and whispered

“Isn’t this fun?”

I smiled

and nodded

because I had never been to a party


And when his hands were on me

tearing fabric from my skin

and his nameless voice murmured

“Isn’t this fun?”

I told him yes

because he said I was beautiful.

And when friends I didn’t remember meeting

were burning sour herbs and

forcing powders up nasal cavities and

finding new ways to fly

and they showed me how and sang

“Isn’t this fun?”

I sang, too

because I wanted to fly.

And when day and night

blurred together

when strangers showed me new ways

to forget

and when they gazed at me

between slitted eyes and foggy minds and

rasped in trembling voices

“Isn’t this fun?”

I answered yes

because I couldn’t remember why I would say no.

Keighan Speer recently received a silver key and an honorable mention in the annual Scholastic Writing Competition. A favorite quote by the poet Charles Bukowski: He was asked what makes a man a writer? “Well,” he said, “it’s simple. You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.”

Dotted Line