Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2017    fiction    all issues


Cover Marija Zaric

Kathryn Merwin
For Aaron, Disenchanted
& other poems

William Stevens
Celestial Bodies
& other poems

Kendra Poole
Take-Off, or The Philosophy of Leaving
& other poems

AJ Powell
Mama Atlas
& other poems

Matt Farrell
Waves in the dark
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
Eating a Horsemeat Sandwich at Astana Airport 
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
& other poems

Joshua Levy
Venezuela Evening
& other poems

Ryan Lawrence
Vegan Teen Daughter vs. Worthless Dad
& other poems

George Longenecker
Yard Sale
& other poems

Susanna Kittredge
My Heart
& other poems

Morgan Gilson
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
The Annihilation of Bees
& other poems

Taylor Bell
Browsing Tinder in an Aldi
& other poems

David Anderson
Continental Rift
& other poems

Charles McGregor
The Boys That Don’t Know
& other poems

Cameron Scott
Ashes to Smashes, Dust to Rust
& other poems

Kenneth Homer
Inferno Redux
& other poems

Alice Ashe
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
Marriage's Weekly Schedule
& other poems

Kim Alfred
Soul Eclipse
& other poems

Writer's Site

Jim Pascual Agustin

Snail Mail

No one had called it that,

not yet. For us, it meant taking time

like drawing from a well

that stood in the middle of a desert.

We walked in daylight knowing

even if we reached the dust covered

stones, picked up the dry bucket

that lay upside down and checked

the rope, it may already be dark.

Still we gently unwound the creaking

pulley, the echo of its way down

like music from stones

gently stroked in circles

with moist fingers. The sound

of wood touching water

where we could not see.

Then to haul back home

what we have alone,

but always less

and less lonely.

The Annihilation of Bees

Pesticide manufacturers, blamed

for the death of bees worldwide

continued to profit. He had

no shares in them, couldn’t care

less for the next luxury

car purchase of their CEOs.

But he couldn’t help feeling

something loosen inside

the chambers in his chest

when he read the news.

He glanced at a framed photo

on his desk. A small girl’s

fingertips touching the petals

of a daisy. The dark lines

in the cove of her palm.

Fine golden dust released

on a field of wild flowers blurred

out in the background.

In a breath, the past

relived. A day for baking

cookies embedded with chips

of chocolate. A dead bee

on its back by the window

sill, sting intact. Curiosity,

a poke, a little heart

coming to a stop.

The Heartless Giant and the Dwarf the Size of a Heart

She thought things had always been small

and breakable. That people spoke only in shrieks,

fists, stones and sticks of flame thrown

from a distance. Too many times they tried

to set her hair on fire while she slept.

It became a choice between giving up

sleep or looking for caves they hadn’t scorched.

Until he stumbled on her baby toe

when his eyes hadn’t yet adjusted

to the darkness where she lay.

A jewel instead of a toenail, he saw.

He’d heard people talk of her

having no heart, how with her stare

she could turn a person into a piece of coal.

He should have run back to the gaping light

outside, but something inside him ached.

The smell of her unsinged hair, the colour

of her eyes when she’s at rest,

her voice when she’s not angered

or afraid, he longed to find out

for himself. He could never believe

a living thing would be void of a soul.

So he sat in patience until she woke up

without being disturbed.

Imagining Aliens

Eyes drowning in stars, a boy

sent out thought waves,

imagining aliens were out there

sailing the waterless expanse,

waiting for signals that matched

their instruments.

Had he looked inside him

he would've found an alien

probe already making a nest,

but not like those in horror movies.

A homing device, invisible

yet palpable as the bark

of the tree he loved to climb,

had long been caught in the waves

he sent out to the universe.

Time and place, and a bit of luck,

would one day open a portal

between them, turn their worlds

inside out, until they became

aliens to each other, exploring

the warm unknown.

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates in Filipino and English. He moved to Cape Town, South Africa in 1994. His work has appeared in Rhino, World Literature Today and Modern Poetry in Translation among others. His eighth book of poetry, Wings of Smoke, published in 2017 by UK-based independent publisher The Onslaught Press, is available through most online retailers.

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