Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2018    fiction    all issues

Poetry Cover Summer 2018


Cover Michael Lønfeldt

Carol Lischau
& other poems

Noreen Ellis
Jesus Measured
& other poems

Amanda Moore
Learning to Surf
& other poems

Adin Zeviel Leavitt
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Stay a Minute, the Light is Beautiful
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
The Wellfleet Oyster
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French
Watermelon Love
& other poems

J. L. Grothe
Six Pregnancies
& other poems

Sue Fagalde Lick
Beauty Confesses
& other poems

Abby Johnson
Finding Yourself on Google Maps
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar
& other poems

Merre Larkin
Sensing June
& other poems

Savannah Grant
& other poems

Andrew Kuhn
Plains Weather
& other poems

Catherine Wald
Against Aubade
& other poems

Joe Couillard
Like New Houses Settling
& other poems

Faleeha Hassan
In Nights of War
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
Thelma: ii
& other poems

Sarah Louise
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Inherent Injustice
& other poems

Frannie Deckas
Child for Sale
& other poems

Jacqueline Schaalje
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
Her Face
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
& other poems

Writer's Site

Ashton Vaughn

Sick As The Rose Water

Supple hands on skin

and a ripe tongue to

pluck the fruit from the tree.

              Watch me as I fall like an apple

              into the palm of the unsated,

              into the hands

              of the elated, the bored, and the triumphant.

Sickly sweet and

utterly intoxicating

like an odour of ammonia—

              I remember that scent clinging to my skin

              like some sort of glorified crown

              with thorns that would surely prick the skin

              and draw blood for all to see:

              my sins on display for the world,

              my sins on display for the world.

              (They were mine, for I had claimed them.)

In this time of remembering,

I urge myself to recall those things

that got tangled in the thickets of my memories:

The milkweed with its woolen blooms; the purple blaze

of lavender that danced and bowed in the breeze; the

dandelions, who wandered not for the world, but for

their own enjoyment.

The mockingbird, who sang so that any passing traveller

may hear his sullen voice and rejoice in the song that

sorrow brings.


I.   There is a fire

                    that burns


             through the night,

      spindling up like

                 the fingers

                 of God


      His touch boasts

         the gentleness

                 of a lamb,

                 soft and shorn.

      II.   “Make of yourself a light,”

                               said the Buddha

                                       to the people

                                  before he went off

                         and died.

      III.   “Into your hands

                      I commend my spirit,”

                      said Jesus to the people

                  as his soul

                rose and shattered,

      and, perhaps, rose again.

                  IV.   God lives within us

                               the way that

                                  A seed

                               lives in the ground.

                        Unseen, untouched by the world,

                                            only to be awoken

                                     by some

                            great and glorious rain—

                     let it rain down from the Heavens

                            a great and glorious storm.

      V.      May you find God in everything:

                          in yourself,

                   and in the daffodils, and in the

                           wry oakwood trees.

                 and also in the laughing lilt of

                               the raucous wind.

VI.      May the fragile bird

                          of yourself

                                       rise up,

                and maybe, after all,

                       see things the way that they are.


I. “I love you,

“I hope you know that I’m proud of you.”

II. The silver snake slithers in the grass—

black pearls for eyes and metal twist of a heart.

Young and assuming, the rabbit succumbs

to the thick rope of its body.

      III.      Do you remember the summer you locked me away?

I rarely saw the sun

and I couldn’t even read,

for all the books were stuffed

in the attic.

Oh, irony

when you made me pack up my own libraries

in boxes and crates


leave them behind for a summer.

IV. Neither of you knew, but I had some of the books


in a field just outside of our neighborhood.

                                                A couple years ago they built a

                                                house over that field.

V. There are many ways one can manage to live through

a storm.

               When you starved me I rationed sugar

underneath my tongue

               and I hid libraries out in the field,

               and eventually, yes, the sugar melted and

               the books burned,

      but at least it kept me alive for the year.


               I.      “I love you,

                        “You know that I love you, right?”

II. Like the blue jay who nudges,

and then pushes

his young out of the nest

to fly

He was only teaching.

He was only loving.

Woe to the beloved blue jay,

weep for him who fell.

III. Do you think that change is always a good thing?

It would’ve been a good thing for you,

the way that you wanted me to change;

and it was a good thing for me,

the way that I had changed,

but where do you fit in?

Was it too much to grow out of that crack

in the sidewalk?

Are you still caged by the hard, the stone, the rugged?

IV. You come not to hurt,

you come not to change,

you come not to blame—

then why do you come?

V. I stole away sugar

and built again my fragile libraries,

but you,

you buried salt under your skin

and you held onto the books that you stole,

the books you would never read.

Still, There Is The Light


Feel it circling

              around you like a cloud

oh, what a sense of sadness

              what a sense of dread

that washes over like a wave,

              covers me like a shroud,

meant to wear to one’s grave—

              let it adorn me like a silk offering,

let me wear it like crown.

              And, still, at the center

there is the light.


              Who is that bird that sings

                            outside of my window?

              Who is the one that trills

                            the song of the seasons?

              You hurt me in ways, indescribable—

what is it to forgive?

              How do you look at the same person

in a different light?

              I can never tell when you have truly changed.

And, still, behind the silhouette.

              there is the light.


Midnight has come and gone.

              I am not normal.

You are not either, though you will never say.

              I know what you did.

              I know who you are.


The thing about apologies is that they

don’t really mean anything if you keep

making the same mistakes

an apology for the same mistake

ten times over

is not truly an apology

but merely a test of patience

How much until you break?

How much until you cave?

When will you finally

shed your skin?

Somewhere—there is the light.


Somewhere there is the light

that burns without the help of anyone.

It does not have to be told

to keep making light.

It does not have to be told

to love the world.

I hope someday to be like this.

I hope someday to forgive you.

Ashton Vaughn is an upcoming senior at Thompson High School. He is a writer of fantasy and poetry, as well as music. When he’s not writing, he’s either reading, at school, or working at Chick-Fil-A. He has plans to attend an Ivy League university as an Environmental Science major.

Dotted Line