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

George Longenecker

I’m sentimental for the Paleolithic

since I’m kind of a retro guy

who’s never much liked the Neolithic,

or those neoconservatives with their guns,

bombs and money, telling me to get a job,

when I’d rather be reading Whitman or

Thoreau and sitting under

                           a tree on a spring day in Lascaux,

                           really—life was easy,

                           plenty of leisure time and—

                           as long as your flints were sharp—

enough food to go around,

we had time to paint,

enjoy a cup of Bordeaux,

eat roast trout and fresh strawberries—

                           that Neolithic was too damned much work,

                           growing grain 8-5 every day,

when we could be picking Chanterelles

and spearing goats in the woods—

oh they make fun of us now—

                           savages, cave men

but we lived longer and stronger,

we Paleolithic men and women,

                           yes, back then women had some power,

                           and those cave paintings were damned good—

we had time to draw flowers, to watch stars,

we counted seasons by the night sky,

knew when solstice was coming,

then we’d make love all night;

                           our world was empty then,

                           yet so full of everything we needed—

wrap me in fur and take me back

to the Paleolithic any day.

Skull in the passenger seat

of a ’33 Dodge, its rusted metal worn smooth

by 80 years of blowing sand and dust

across the high Nevada desert.

A rancher with a sense of humor and art—

O’Keefe with a little Picasso and Warhol—

has set this steer’s skull

in the seat atop a rusty steel shaft

sticking up where the brain used to be.

The steer stares east

(at least as well as a steer can stare

with only eye sockets and no brain)

out across the village of Baker,

and east to the Great Basin of Utah.

Tourists on their way to a national park

stop to take photos of this macabre desert traveler—

a steer with no legs or hooves

in a car with no wheels.

Maybe we’re fascinated because it’s so stark—

like the high desert,

or maybe it’s because we’ll be there someday—

our own bleached skeletons

in silent cars rusting into desert,

prickly pear cacti poking through where once

there were wheels that could speed us anywhere,

skull sockets where once were eyes that could see

snow on mountains high above this desert.

Nana remembers

a frozen lake where she skated

under clear winter sky with pink clouds,

where chickadees called.

She felt free on ice,

and could glide forever into western light.

Nana tells of winters

when there was snow,

summers when a girl

could wade in ponds,

where painted turtles basked on logs.

It’s one hundred ten at noon.

The sea laps eaves of cottages like a huge seal—

but seals are gone—

sun, hot by dawn as it rises purple

and orange over the Atlantic,

chews away at seawalls and beach houses,

then washes its way inland to the lakes.

The future’s begun, Nana said

that first year the big storms came.

She shows us her skates,

tells us of frozen lakes,

how she cut long lines,

and perfect figure eights.

Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee

Rifles cracked,

blood turned to ice on snow,

west wind blew knife-cold

out of Black Hills.

Ghost Dancers’ shirts

embroidered with porcupine quills,

frayed by bullets,

still clothe their bones,

colors long-since faded

after a hundred twenty seven winters,

a hundred ninety seven Lakota

in a trench at Pine Ridge.

Silent except for echoes of rifles,

pleas of Hunkpapa and Miniconju,

children’s cold screams,

Ghost Dancers’ voices on the wind.


A shoe store at the mall,

which hasn’t been doing enough business,

has a dozen signs plastered over its windows:

Liquidation 50% Off—End of Season Clearance

The manager unlocks a security gate,

the store is open; customers file in.

Piles of shoes: sneakers, sandals,

baby shoes, oxfords, loafers,

running shoes, hiking boots, high heels,

moccasins, yoga shoes, work boots

too many to shoes to count—

everything cut.


to do away with especially by killing;

to convert (assets) into cash.

Treblinka, Bosnia, Guatemala, Rwanda,

a security gate is unlocked,

they are ordered to enter

single file for processing,

half to one side, half to the other,

eventually all will go.

Sand Creek, Warsaw, Katlyn Forest, Kosovo—

there’s always a reason,

why all must go efficiently,

there’s always a reason for liquidation, for clearance.


piles of shoes.

Large shoes, baby shoes,

piled as though they might be worn again,

but other shoes lie forgotten

by the side of a dusty road somewhere,

too many shoes to count,

too many places to remember.

George Longenecker lives on the edge of the woods in Middlesex, Vermont. His poems have been published in Bryant Literary Review, Evening Street Review, America, The Main Street Rag, and The Mountain Troubadour. His book Star Route was published last year. Since 2018 he’s been president of The Poetry Society of Vermont. He and looks for poems in nature and in the paradoxical ways humans interact with the environment and reflect nature in their art.

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