Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2019    fiction    all issues


Cover Antoine Petitteville

Laura Apol
Easter Morning
& other poems

Taylor Dibble
A Masterpiece in Progress
& other poems

Julia Roth
Lessons From My Menstrual Cup
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Ceaseless Wind. The Drying Sheaves
& other poems

Nicole Yackley
Mea Culpa
& other poems

George Longenecker
I’m sentimental for the Paleolithic
& other poems

Taylor Gardner
Short Observations by Angels
& other poems

Greg Tuleja
No Thomas Hardy
& other poems

Joanne Monte
War Casualties
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
Potato Harvest
& other poems

Steven Dale Davison
Wordsmouth Harbor Founder
& other poems

Heather 'Byrd' Roberts
How I Named Her
& other poems

sunny ex
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
Through the Valley of Mount Chimaera
& other poems

Linda Speckhals
& other poems

Lucy Griffith
Breathing Room
& other poems

Steven Valentine
& other poems

Emily Varvel
B is for Boys and G is for Guys
& other poems

Jhazalyn Prince
Priceless Body
& other poems

Marte Stuart
Generation Snowflake
& other poems

S.J. Enloe
Kale Soup
& other poems

Meghan Dunsmuir
Our Path
& other poems

Laura Apol

Elephant Ears

She loved them—

the two glass-blown elephants from my childhood

turned into a collection I bought for her, brought to

her: brass, carved teak, gold-gilt; one made of cloth,

one of jade—each tiny, intact—trunk raised or curled,

solid circles of feet, and ears flapping, like those green

heart-shaped elephant ears in the garden, leaves—wide

as my outstretched arms—that still flap, alive, in wind.

Can she hear me now? She packed her

collection, wrapped in newsprint, with such care.

Fragile—Elephants on the box in her script. Our writing

is so much alike, Mom, she used to say. I’ve hung her

elephant print on my bedroom wall, where I’ll see it:

Mama and—protected by the Mama’s solid front legs,

stroked by her trunk—child. Over the years: she’d

hold up her hand to mine, palm to palm, to see how

her fingers were almost the same as—were longer

than—mine, her elephant ring

too large for me now, elephant earrings, necklace,

there is nothing she will write again and those lovely

fingers loaded that gun, pressed the trigger, the silence

ear-splitting and what, after all, did she know about

fragile—about handle with care?

Easter Morning

When the wave rises, it is the water;
and when it falls, it is the same water again
. . .
—Rabindranath Tagore

The cherry trees are in full

bloom, the grass around

strewn with petals that have fallen

in the night. Is this the mystery

of life? Of death? I try to believe

in heaven—some days

yes, some no. This morning,

I do. When does water

turn to wave, and wave to sea?

My conversation with her is forever

unfinished. Don’t tell me someday

it will be complete—by then

I will have forgotten what I meant

to say,

and what, after all,

                               will it matter?

And On

     For three hundred sixty-five days I have tried to make her

make sense—ripped out every seam, pulled nails,

dug up roots, sanded wood to raw. I have opened turned

drained clawed, gone to sleep praying she would come to me,

waked in disappointment or tears.

     I have looked for her in every eagle, heron, hummingbird;

every cardinal, oriole, fox. Each startling blossom. Each bit of color

I did not expect.

     My tongue trips over tenses: have/had, is/was, present-or-past

the flip of a coin. Both and neither, my empty hand still my hand, scars

and blue veins, long lifeline and her silver ring.

     I have spread the name I gave her—like seed, willed it forward,

supple as wheat fields in wind, a knife that sharpens with use. Our stories,

just mine now—each a shaky bridge, foot traffic only, how many crossings

before it gives way?

     I know where I have stored the locks of her hair, what remains

of her muscle and bone. They pull to me from the chest, pull at me

in my chest, a wound she inflicted that afternoon

one year ago

                                          —right now—

              a day filled with trillium, trout lilies, blood root. Last year’s leaves

rattle in the trees, the creek rushing over itself

                                                                  to the river,

                                                                                to the sea.

Laura Apol’s poetry appears in numerous anthologies and literary journals, and she is recognized through a number of poetry prizes. She is the author of four full-length collections, most recently, Nothing but the Blood (Michigan State University Press, 2018; winner of the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry). She is currently completing a manuscript, Lullaby, about her daughter, Hanna, who was lost to suicide in 2017.

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